A tweet via Scott Rochelle, President of the National Basketball Retired Players Association may indicate that this MIGHT be the case.
I called Scott Rochelle this morning and he gave me more insight on the tweet.
“The ball is in 2K’s court on this one,” Scott Rochelle tells me.
“Charles has an opion on what it takes to be in that game. I need to have a conversation with the 2K people to see what can happen. We had a productive conversation with Charles recently and we’re looking to make this happen. Every year, Charles talks about not being on the game. There’s been talks back and forth for years and the board of directors has put things in motion to end the talk and the board is trying to put an action plan. The board takes this opportunity very seriously.”
NBA 2K is one of the top selling video games and the sounds, feel and culture, create a premium user experience for fans.
The annual release of the game features the voices and likenesses of top broadcasters Kevin Harlan, Doris Burke, Chris Webber and David Aldridge during the games four quarters.
During the game’s halftime show, the likenesses of multi-award winning broadcaster, Ernie Johnson and NBA champions Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal broadcast give fans the feel of watching TNT’s Inside The NBA on Thursday nights during the NBA season.
Only one problem: Charles Barkley is nowhere to be found.
For the past few years, Barkley and NBA 2K cannot agree on a financial agreement to make the former NBA player, turned NBA analyst a fixture on the game.
“I’m still not there,” Charles Barkley told me last year on Scoop B Radio.
“I told them [if] they gave me x-amount of money, not give it to me; give it to the retired players, I’d appear in their video game. They haven’t done it, so I’m not in there.”
Barkley has been pretty adamant about his brethren in the Retired Players Association being fairly compensated.
“My job is to take care of the older players and we’ve been having this argument with NBA 2K for 20 years now,” he said.
“Unless they give the retired players x-amount of money they cannot use my likeness. And, I think I’m not even going to think about that anymore. They’re gonna give some money to the retired players, or they’ll never be able to use my likeness, period.”
Barkley did say he would be willing to listen to the right offer from 2K, however: “Listen, that game makes hundreds of millions of dollars,” he told me.
“They can use the write-off. Listen, my phone is always open.”
Licensing is a tricky thing. One high ranking NBA 2K official shared with me last summer that Barkley was looking for a figure larger than what Michael Jordan asked for to appear on the game.
“Some players don’t want to do it because they have no interest in the gaming space for variety of philosophical reasons,” NBA 2K’s Ronnie Singh told USA Today, in 2017.
Barkley did appear on NBA 2K13 as a member of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team after Jay-Z, the game’s executive producer, coaxed him to do so.
“Charles has said this over and over again, every year and nothing seems to change,” NBA Retired Players Association CEO and President, Scott Rochelle told me last summer on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“Would we like to receive a larger chunk from 2K? Of course! As president and CEO, it’s my job to go out and get more money for the players, but 2K has to sit down and work it out directly with Barkley because those are the two parties that are really involved. Would we be a beneficiary? Of course, I’m not turning that down, but it has to be more than just talk. And I think that as the association itself grows and builds upon its ability to market and monetize the players, we should be in a position to probably broker that deal, or at least have that conversation.”
I’m told that Charles Barkley sat with the board in a meeting at Turner Sports in Atlanta, Georgia recently to discuss the game and his likeness. We’ll see what happens from there.
“Charles is in full support of the National Basketball Retired Players Association,” Scott Rochelle told me this morning.
“However there’s a piece of business that needs to be handled with the 2K agreement.”