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Charles Barkley: TNT should hire Dirk Nowitzki, fire Shaq, Kenny Smith

Charles Barkley was among the dignitaries in attendance at American Airlines Center Tuesday night for what ultimately would end up being Dirk Nowitzki’s final home game for the Dallas Mavericks.

Nowitzki, amid speculation about his future plans, made it official Tuesday by announcing he would indeed retire after his 21st NBA season, a Hall of Fame career which will come to a close with Wednesday’s road game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Along with Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Detlef Schrempf and Shawn Kemp were in attendance to pay tribute to the Mavs icon.

Barkley, never one to shy away from making outrageous statements — or a comedic quip — joked about Nowitzki’s post-NBA career plans. If Barkley had his way, Nowitzki would get a seat at the desk of TNT’s iconic studio show, “Inside the NBA.”

To make room for Nowitzki, Barkley cracked that TNT should simply fire Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith, although he admitted only host Ernie Johnson has the kind of influence to pull off such a move.

“If Dirk Nowitzki wants a job at TNT, I’m pretty sure I can get rid of Shaq or Kenny for him,” Barkley said, per SportsDay.

It wasn’t all hijinks for Barkley on Tuesday night, however, as he made sure to properly praise Nowitzki for his contributions to the NBA during his turn at the mic.

Nowitzki later mentioned he enjoyed a beer afterward with Barkley and the rest of the legends who attended the game.

As far as the notion of Nowitzki getting into the world of broadcasting is concerned, his post-retirement plans are unknown. That said, should Nowitzki be legitimately interested in joining TNT’s “Inside the NBA” crew, perhaps instead of canning Shaq and The Jet and breaking up the best studio show in sports television, maybe a fifth chair could be squeezed in behind the desk.