Kenny Smith Rumors
“In the past, the Generals got so used to losing,” Worthen said. “They had a lack of talent and poor coaching. Now we’re changing everything around. We have [TNT NBA studio analyst] Kenny Smith as the general manager and myself as coach. “We took three years off for planning and preparation for how to beat the Globetrotters. We did a lot of scouting, Kenny and I, watching all kinds of tapes, looking at the Globetrotters’ strengths and weaknesses. And we recruited a bunch of guys with special talents who believe they can win.”
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.”
Turner Sports says its “Inside the NBA” studio team will call a Christmas night game in Los Angeles along with its other usual duties. Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson will be at Staples Center for the Lakers’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They will call the nightcap of the league’s five-game holiday schedule in addition to their regular pregame, halftime and postgame coverage.
Thursday’s “NBA on TNT” broadcast should be interesting. The main event between Lonzo Ball’s Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers figures to be a spectacle, but don’t discount the in-studio undercard, which could feature Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith hashing out their own issues with LaVar Ball. In Shaq’s case, it’s being denied Big Baller status by the Big Baller Brand CEO. For Chuck, it’s comments he made on ESPN radio questioning whether the Ballfather is, in fact, a “legit father” for “exploiting his kids.” The Jet now finds himself in the fray after turning Barkley’s stance on its ear.
“I don’t know if he’s exploiting them. He’s giving them opportunities they didn’t have, without question,” Kenny Smith told TMZ Sports. “I think that there are multiple routes. He took that route, but he doesn’t know the other route, how it helps you to go to college, not just on a basketball standpoint.” Smith thought it was “a good move” to send LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball to Lithuania, but emphasized that he’s still “a proponent of college.”