Scott Rochelle, CEO & President of the NBRPA checked in with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on the Scoop B Radio Podcast. Press Play Below To Listen!
Charles Barkley confirmed that he will not appear on this month’s release of the NBA 2K19 video game earlier this summer.
“Unless they give the retired players X amount of money, they cannot use my likeness,” Barkley told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“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… My job is to take care of the older players.”
Licensing is a tricky thing. “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, last year.
“We would honestly want everybody that we could have in the game to the best of our abilities.”
If you’re keeping score at home, 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 on this week’s episode of 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.”
Sources on the NBA 2K business-side recently shared with me that the financial figures that Barkley has asked for “trump anything that Michael Jordan has ever asked for.”
Million dollar question: How much money are we really talking about here?
“When you’re looking at what we’re paying out to players in licensing for the video games, you’re looking at seven figures of payment,” Scott Rochelle told Scoop B Radio.
“However, there are ten licensing fees that the NBA is using for the retired player fees. So, you’re talking about photos, jersey sales, those are all uses of likeness. That’s going to give you a ballpark estimate of how much is being paid out. Is it enough for your tournament players to make money off of? No. But, is it a good check? Oh, for sure. Because every year when the checks come out and those two usually get a check, know that those checks come with two periods, our phones start ringing. So they know, and we make sure the addresses are right, all those different things. You know, some people may say it’s not enough money, some guys are probably very happy with it, it just depends on their life and how they’ve transitioned, and where they are financially.”
While Barkley did appear on the game as a player, fans want to see him on NBA 2K’s pregame, halftime and postgame show with his TNT Inside The NBA brethren, Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny “The Jet” Smith.
A 2K official speaking on the condition of anonymity told me that while Charles Barkley would be an asset to the game, “who knows how much longer the TNT cast will all be together.”
Last month on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, 7-time NBA champion Robert Horry says he’s sees everyone’s point of view. “Being a guy who grew up playing games all the time and you like to see your image in it,” he said.
“I understand that you have certain images like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Jordan who bring in a bigger crowd.”
“They also must understand that there are a lot of younger generations that don’t know who they are. That crowd is coming because of the [Russell] Westbrook]’s and the [Kevin] Durant’s and of course, King James. But you’ve just got to say it’s an honor to be in here and try to compensate the best you can.”
So what’s next? “If I’m Charles Barkley, I’d start my own licensing company,” Forbes’ Brian Mazique told me on Scoop B Radio.
NBA 2K19 releases September 11th.