Charles Barkley made a plea on behalf of NBA veteran Tony Snell, asking for any team to sign Snell by Friday so he would be eligible for a medical plan that would help him care for his two sons diagnosed with autism. 

The Hall of Famer raised the issue on “NBA on TNT” Thursday in hopes of sharing Snell’s message. 

Charles Barkley at the playoffs

Charles Barkley before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat at Kaseya Center May 21, 2023, in Miami, Fla.  (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

“I’m hoping — you know, the NBA’s been great to all of us sitting up here — I hope one of you guys sign Tony so his two autistic kids can get great medical care.”


Snell recently revealed to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer his desire to return to the NBA is motivated by the need to get a 10th year of league service, which would make him eligible for the Players Association Union’s premium medical plan when he retires. 

“It’s something I truly need. Not only for myself, but for my wife and my kids,” Snell said of his two sons, who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. 


Snell, who plays for the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate, would need to be signed to an active roster by Friday to qualify, Sports Illustrated reported. 

Tony Snell shoots

Tony Snell of the Maine Celtics shoots a free throw against the Cleveland Charge Feb. 11, 2023, at the Portland Expo Center in Portland, Maine.  (China Wong/NBAE via Getty Images)

“I hope a team signs him for the rest of the season because — I don’t know a lot about autism, I’m not going to say that — but I know it’s gotta be expensive to have two young kids with that situation,” Barkley added. 

“We always talk about what a family we are. Let’s sign that kid for the rest of the season.” 


Former NBA guard Kenny Smith suggested the league step in to make an “exception” considering Snell’s circumstances. 

Tony Snell plays for Maine

Tony Snell (9) of the Maine Celtics drives to the basket against Ethan Thompson (5) of the Windy City Bulls during the first half of an NBA G-League game March 21, 2023, at NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. (Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images)

“It’s only 40 games.”

Snell, 32, was drafted by the Chicago Bulls 20th overall in 2013. He last played in the NBA during the 2021-22 season. 

He previously revealed in June that his son’s diagnosis led to his own autism diagnosis. 

Fox News’ Joe Morgan contributed to this report. 

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