Charles Barkley RumorsAll NBA Players
Ernie Johnson wants you to know: It’s all real. The back-and-forths between Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, the laughs and wisecracks and the real-time reactions to NBA player quotes? That’s what makes Inside the NBA must-watch television – all of that natural spontaneity. “You’d be amazed standing in our studio,” he told For The Win on Tuesday at the CBS Sports and Turner March Madness Media Day. “There’s one minute to air. I’m sitting there, then (Barkley, O’Neal and Kenny Smith) wander out just in time to come on the air. And that’s how we want it.”
But that means Johnson has to be the engine that keeps the show moving and on the rails. He’s heard all kinds of descriptions for his role: Ringmaster, point guard, traffic cop. The best one he’s heard? Someone came up with an apt comparison. “You’re the dad who turns around and says, ‘If I hear anymore I’m going to stop this car and turn it around,” he said.
“The reactions you get are genuine and heartfelt,” he said. “If there’s a mistake made, if someone is so in the dark on something and isn’t ready, then we all make fun of him. That’s the deal! That’s what makes it fun to be in the middle of it. Because you’ve gotta be alert and alive and it keeps it on your toes.” “We live for seeing Charles spilling something on his tie!” he added. “It’s all this stuff they said you’re not supposed to do on TV. It’s not a place to be if you’re thin skinned.”
Charles Barkley hosted Saturday Night Live… so there was more to see than just Weekend Update and Migos performing. Barkley used his opening monologue time to say LeBron James and other basketball players should not just “shut up and dribble” and talked about athletes not just sticking to sports.
Last week, Charles Barkley told a story on TNT from decades ago: He said he flew to Portland one summer to convince the Trail Blazers’ general manager to trade for him. They obviously didn’t end up dealing for him, so Barkley said he’s owed $1,197 because he spent his own money to fly there. So the Blazers … paid up! After the NBA All-Star Game, Damian Lillard delivered a check for $1,197, which Barkley said he wouldn’t cash out of respect for the organization.
Charles Barkley could have talked about anything. But on Wednesday, he settled on talking about Philadelphia for awhile. And after discussing how Philadelphia is a football town while Los Angeles is a basketball town, Barkley mentioned that he almost played for the Los Angeles Lakers once. He wasn’t clear on the timeline (he thinks it was in the late 1980s), but he remembered the story itself very well. “I get a call from my agent one morning, and he says, ‘I think we’ve got a deal, you’re going to the Lakers.’ […] I was so excited, so me and my boys went out to celebrate. We started getting drunk in the middle of the day.”
This sounds promising. He’s leaving the Philadelphia 76ers for the Lakers, he’s excited, and he’s getting hammered in the middle of the day. Since we’re in the future, we know he never actually played for the Lakers, so this story is going to have a heck of an ending. “My agent called me back about three hours later. He says, ‘The Sixers pulled out of the deal,’ and we’ve got a game that night. I don’t remember anything about that game. First of all, I was so pissed, but I was so drunk, too. I have no idea what happened that game.”