My 10 Favorite Moments Inside the NBA
Charles Barkley signed a long-term extension to remain at TNT before the start of last season. The foursome of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and Barkley are all under contract for at least the next few years. The Chuckster, currently 60 years old, had previously hinted that he wanted to retire at 60. He also briefly hinted with the idea of leaving TNT to join coverage for LIV Golf. Barkley kept telling America that he didn’t want to work for the rest of his life. I’d argue that Barkley’s role “Inside the NBA” isn’t hard work. That’s another argument for another time. They’re officially back and not going anywhere for a while…unless one or more chooses to retire.
I’m a huge fan of those guys and TNT’s NBA coverage. There isn’t a sports show that I look forward to watching more than “Inside the NBA.” My wife will attest to that too. Inside is one of the only shows that I DVR. Sure, I’m interested in the basketball game and the highlights. Like most, I’m more interested in the shenanigans EJ, “The Jet”, Chuck, and Shaq get into. What’s Chuck going to say that will instantly go viral tonight? Who’s going to race Kenny to the Board before Kenny’s Pictures? Is tonight the night that Shaq moves some furniture and beat’s Chuck’s ass (probably not)? How long will it take for Ernie to roll his eyes? Who made Shaqtin’ a Fool this week? How about EJ’s Neat-o-Stat of The Night?"
If haven’t watched the four-part Inside the NBA documentary on the history of the show do yourself a favor and check it out. We have learned so much from these guys over the years. We learned that Ernie Johnson is a better three-point shooter than Charles Barkley. LeRoy Jetson is the lost Jetsons character we never saw. We witnessed TNT retiring Kenny Smith’s jersey. Chuck can’t change a diaper. Or hold his breath underwater for more than 18 seconds. Or read a teleprompter. He will never work at ESPN either. Shaq will crash into or have anything crash on him. Don’t even get me started with Dyngus Day!
There are so many memorable moments to choose from. Most of them involve pranks or making fun of Charles Barkley. I’m going to share just TEN of my favorites. Luckily for all of you, I’ll let the video do the talking instead of me. I GEERRR-RRROON-TEEEE you will enjoy these clips!
#1 - Charles Barkley vs. Women of San Antonio
Some woman in San Antonio must have really done a number on Charles Barkley. He’s had a “friendly vendetta” against the women of San Antonio for years. Kenny or Shaq never miss an opportunity to nudge Chuck into taking a dig at these ladies. Chuck was always nice enough to oblige.
Then out of nowhere one night, he decided to issue an apology to said women. Kind of.
#2 – Who He Play For?
The NBA offseason has become more exciting that the regular season in recent years with all of the player movement that takes place. What are the chances that Charles Barkley keeps an eye on the NBA Transaction Wire in the offseason? On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a -3. At the beginning of each season Ernie gives Chuck a list of five NBA players. The Chuckster has to tell America which team that player signed. I don’t think Barkley has ever done better than 2 of 5. However, when Shaq joined the group in 2011 he decided to get in on the fun. This is my all-time favorite version of “Who He Play For?”
#3 – You gotta run through the tape!!!
Someone at Turner Sports thought that it was a good idea for these guys to run a race. This race was affectionally called, “The Chariots of Backfire,” and featured Shaq, Chuck, Kenny, EJ, and Chris Webber. The race itself was full of controversy from the very beginning. Its ending is still talked about to this day.
#4 – Shaqtin’ A Fool
This is one of my favorite segments on TV. It’s a segment that NBA players don’t want to make because it usually means that they screwed up in front of America. Here’s a montage of some of the best “Shaqtin’ A Fool” moments!
#5 – The Zebra Story
I’ve heard some interesting excuses for being late to work. Kenny Smith had quite the excuse for showing up late to Studio J one night. It allegedly involved a Zebra! Take a look.
#6 – With the first pick in the “Ultimate Fantasy Draft,” Charles Barkley drafts…Allen Iverson
Back in 2011, the NBA on TNT crew decided to hold an Ultimate Fantasy Draft. This was a fantasy draft of All-Time players. In addition to Charles and Kenny then-TNT analysts Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr, Kevin McHale, and Chris Webber also took part in the festivities. Chuck had the #1 pick and it became obvious that he didn’t play attention in that night’s pre-production meeting…
#7 – (tie) Shaq’s Gas Mathematics/A flight to the moon vs. California
This classic conversation started when Kenny shared that he didn’t want to buy a car due to its bad gas mileage. Shaq argues that you don’t need to fill up every week and shares his math. This is a hill he STILL stands on to this day. Is Shaq making any sense here? You decide.
This is the same man that thought that the moon is closer to Atlanta than the West Coast. No joke.
#8 – Like father, like son
Who hasn’t seen the legendary footage of “Elevator” Ernie Johnson dunking during a Media Dunk Contest at The Omni in the 1980s? Ernie had hops! What we didn’t realize was that he had a son playing for the Lakers in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. I think his “son” has the better vertical. I can’t help but think about Ernie Johnson every time I see now-Bulls guard Alex Caruso.
#9 – Kenny Imitates Kobe
In 2008, a commercial for Nike’s Hyperdunk shoes went viral. Why? Because it showed Kobe Bryant wearing said shoes and jumping over an Aston Martin driving right at him. Leave it to the “Inside” guys. If Kobe can jump over a car in his new shoes so can Kenny “The Jet” Smith in his new shoes, right? Well…
#10 – Chuck’s Bracelet
Kenny noticed that Charles was sporting a new bracelet one night. After making this observation he decided to ask The Chuckster where he got the bracelet from. Then mass chaos proceeded to ensue.
That’s how Ernie and Chuck’s podcast got its name – “The Steam Room.” I’m happy that EJ, Kenny, Chuck, and Shaq will continue on “Inside the NBA.” I wouldn’t have it any other way. We get to enjoy the good times for a little while longer. I can’t wait to see what shenanigans these knuckleheads get into this season.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos