When the Round Mound of Rebound decided to retire from basketball in 2000 and become a studio analyst, TNT officials did not know what they were getting themselves into.
Barkley has quietly become one of the most personable and down-to-earth announcers in all of sports.
He calls out show-offs and players who go on live television in front of millions to declare their free agency decision (cough...LeBron...cough). He talks to real people about the troubles that the country is going through.
For example, in a 2006 meeting for the National School Boards Association, he stated that he would be looking into the idea of running for Governor of Alabama.
"Republicans and Democrats want to argue over stuff that's not important, like gay marriage or the war in Iraq or illegal immigration... When I run — if I run — we're going to talk about real issues like improving our schools, cleaning up our neighborhoods of drugs and crime and making Alabama a better place for all people."
What kind of announcer says this stuff? Can you picture Joe Buck or Chris Berman going to a PETA meeting and talking about euthanasia?
Barkley says what is on his mind. And that's something that mostly everyone in this world is afraid to do.
It also does not hurt that he knows more about basketball than Ernie Johnson will ever know.
With all of this evidence, what else is there to say?
Well, one more thing. Barkley is probably the funniest person in sports. Remember his race with NBA official Dick Bavetta at the 2007 All-Star Weekend?
He brings attention and energy to the sport that is rarely seen these days.
Barkley is without a doubt one of the greatest announcers in the history of sports, thanks to his sense of humor and plain common sense.