11:00am PT by Amber Dowling
Wish Fulfillment: Charles Barkley to Guest Star on 'Suits' (Exclusive)
Looks like Harvey will have another professionally autographed basketball to add to his collection when Suits returns with its fifth season in June.
It’s no secret that Charles Barkley is a huge fan of the USA Network drama. The former NBA All-Star and Inside the NBA host has been outspoken about his love for Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) and the rest of the cast for quite some time.
Unbeknownst to him, show creator Aaron Korsh has always been just as big a fan of Barkley’s. So once word of Barkley’s Suits fandom reached the showrunner, an offer was extended to have the 52-year-old come to Canada and film a cameo.
“It’s really cool for me, because when they heard me bragging about the show they invited me and I was like, ‘I gotta make it work,’ ” Barkley tells THR. “Right now with playoffs we’re in our busy time and the only day we have off is Friday. I was like, ‘I don’t give a shit. My day off, we’re going up there to Toronto.’”
The former power forward isn’t the first athlete to make a guest star appearance on the series. Olympian Michael Phelps filmed a cameo during season three’s “Buried Secrets.”
Barkley appears in the third episode of season five, where he’ll play a heightened version of himself. As one of Harvey’s clients, he’s called in to help the Specter Pearson Litt partner out of a jam when Harvey gets into it with another non-name partner. Only things don’t exactly go as the lawyer hoped.
“I’m the dipshit that grew up in Philadelphia in the Barkley era, so that’s where the idea for this particular scene came from,” Korsh, hints. “Often I get asked to put people in the show as cameos, but when I heard Charles say he is a fan of the show, to me it’s very personal. I’m a huge basketball fan, I always have been. And in particular a Barkley fan. We had to get him on.”
Korsh admits there were some network concerns in giving Barkley a speaking role at first in case he had a problem with the lines, but he also didn’t want Barkley to come in just to be a “prop” in the scene. So the duo worked on the lines together with Macht and director Anton Cropper in rehearsal before clicking the cameras on.
“He’s on TV every night, and he’s such a big personality. I was like, ‘Look, he can make these lines his own. We’re just going to believe he is who he is,’ ” Korsh adds. “I just had confidence in his ability and he killed it.”
Suits is currently filming in Toronto. Season five premieres Wednesday, June 24 at 9 p.m. on USA Network.
Are you excited to see Barkley on Suits? Who should stop by next? Sound off in the comments below.