The NBA Hall of Famer and TNT basketball analyst recently said he declined a job on the popular NFL broadcast because it would be outside his area of expertise.
"Like, they offered me 'Monday Night Football.' I says, 'I like football, but I ain’t gonna be one of these jackasses to get on TV and act like he know about football.'”
ESPN declined to comment on the record for this story. MNF used a three-person booth in 2020, with Steve Levy on play-by-play plus Brian Griese and Louis Riddick as color commentators.
Barkley wouldn't have been the first person with seemingly no connection to football to become part of the "MNF" booth. Comedian/political commentator Dennis Miller served as color commentator, joining play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and analyst Dan Fouts, during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, when the show was on ABC.
Barkley did not mention when the job offer took place. Barkley has been in broadcasting since retiring from the NBA in 2000 and "MNF" has been a TV staple for more than half a century, so it could have been decades ago.
There's also the chance it's all fiction. After all, Barkley made the mention on a real-life podcast hosted by a fictional character. Actor Hank Azalia played the titular character on the comedy series "Brockmire," which ran on IFC from 2016 to 2020. Azalia revived the character for the podcast and Barkley was a guest on the first episode.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.