Kenny Smith Rumors
The network announced that its hit ‘Inside the NBA on TNT’ lineup of Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith will be on the air for a long time thanks to “multi-year” extensions for the group. “We truly believe Inside the NBA is among the best studio shows of all time and a large part of its success is due to the unrivaled chemistry between Ernie, Charles, Kenny and Shaquille,” said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports in a statement. “We’re looking forward to continuing the creativity and pioneering spirit behind the show for a very long time.”
Charles Barkley won’t be gone fishin’ just yet. After previously suggesting he might leave TNT at the end of his current contract, the Hall of Famer has agreed to a multiyear extension to remain as a studio analyst for “Inside the NBA.” The network announced Wednesday that all of the show’s stars had received new deals, so Barkley will keep trading barbs with fellow commentators Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal and host Ernie Johnson.
Shaquille O’Neal took quite a tumble during the “NBA on TNT” halftime show of the Clippers-Rockets game on Wednesday night. O’Neal appeared to get his foot caught in wires and crashed off the raised platform onto the floor of the set. He lost his shoe in the process and his 7-foot-plus, 325-pound frame was on the deck for a time. His fellow broadcasters on the set couldn’t hold back their laughter, especially Kenny Smith.
Ernie Johnson sure is a class act. On Tuesday night at the Sports Emmys, the TNT host gave his award for ‘Best Studio Host’ to the daughters of late ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who lost his battle with cancer in January. TNT’s Johnson knows a thing or two about fighting cancer. In 2006, he took a leave of absence during his battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He later returned as host of the Emmy-winning show “NBA on TNT” opposite Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.
The crew from Inside the NBA — Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal — didn’t hold back with their thoughts. Barkley said during the postgame show a minimum of five games would be warranted, but believes the league should consider 10. O’Neal and Smith both said five was the proper number. “What Kendrick Perkins and J.R. Smith did was bush league,” Barkley said. “You can’t just go around hitting people in the face. It was like watching a boxing match. Your knee doesn’t collapse like that.”
SLAM: What are some recent ones you’ve seen that you liked? CB: Um, I enjoyed Selma, that was a really emotional movie. I liked The Judge. I’m trying to get Kenny to come see Fifty Shades of Grey with me. KS: I’ll go to Fifty Shades of Grey if you come see a Broadway play with me. A matinée. I’m trying to get him to go with me.
SLAM: When you’re sitting here, how are you watching the games? What are the things you’re looking at or for? CB: That’s a good question. I’m watching the style of play, looking at matchups, you guys talk a lot about analytical bullshit—this game’s all about matchups. Here I’m looking at the Cleveland Cavaliers shooting way too many jump shots, and they’re playing at too slow a pace. And that’s why I think Chicago can beat them in a seven-game series.
SLAM: All good. We were talking about how analytics, that extra stuff, won’t trump talent but can be the difference when two teams with similar talent levels meet. CB: We never talked about analytics in the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s. It’s something they just came up with. Kenny Smith: I have to add something too, because you asked me the same question. I’ll really believe in analytics if you trade Danny Green for Chris Bosh and win a championship. When you show me that a guy that’s not obviously better than another guy makes a team better than the other guy would have. When someone says, You know, Bosh is not going to help us win but Danny Green will and we know that because of analytics. When that happens then I’ll be like, This stuff works.
Many have decried the former players’ stance, including Barkley’s “Inside The NBA” co-host Kenny Smith. The two even had a frank on-air discussion about it. Despite the backlash, Barkley has not backed down from his position, and neither did Malone on Wednesday. “Stop using the excuse about race,” Malone said. “I am sick and tired that every time you turn around, that’s what we dangle … Our problem now is we do so much talking and beating things to death. Let’s take ownership in ourselves … stop waiting for someone to come in and march for us.”