For the first time in 13 NBA seasons, LeBron James will be watching the playoffs on TV or taking an earlier than expected holiday after the Los Angeles Lakers failed to make the post-season for the sixth consecutive season. It is a new experience for the three-time NBA champion and he has been extended an invite by Charles Barkley to join the “NBA on TNT” crew.

The 15-time NBA All-Star’s arrival on a four-year contract last summer was expected to change the Lakers’ fortunes this season, but an untimely injury to James in December derailed the team’s campaign and they were unable to recover and ended up finishing 10th in the West. Prior to this, he had made eight straight NBA Finals, first with Miami Heat and then the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James admitted he would have to change his training schedule owing to his season coming to an early end, something he had not prepared for when he began the campaign with the Lakers. The playoffs got underway Saturday and Barkley, part of the TNT team, extended an open invitation to arguably one of the greatest players in the game to join them and analyze games.

LeBron James LeBron James is confident he and the Lakers will make the playoffs in the future. In this picture, James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with a teammate during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, March 12, 2019. Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

“I’ve said this before, America, and this is the last time,” Barkley said Sunday on TNT. “LeBron James, come into the studio. You ain’t got nothing to do. The playoffs started yesterday. You’ve got free time. I know you’ve got to pick a coach and a general manager. Just put that on the back burner. I’m speaking on behalf — I’m begging you on behalf of (the rest of the crew) Ernie (Johnson), Kenny (Smith) and Shaq.”

“LeBron, how about this,” he added. “You don’t even have to stay. You can leave at halftime of the second game. … We can help you pick out a coach. Listen, Shaq knows, because he would enjoy to coach. And Kenny’s been interviewing for coaching jobs the last couple of years. So come on in, LeBron. Please.”

Barkley’s plea to James caught plenty of attention on social media and as expected, it eventually caught the attention of the Lakers star too. He was not one to brush it off and responded to the NBA legend’s invite.

James went on to explain he had plenty on his plate despite not playing in the post-season, but did not rule out a potential appearance on television during the playoffs. The viewership is certain to spike if James decides to analyze a game, especially if it is in the latter stages that involve one of the favorites.

“Sir Charles, I actually do have a ton going on but I may take you up on your offer. We shall see,” James said, responding to Barkley.