Ernie Johnson Rumors
The NBA on TNT crew spent time joking around about the latest Google glitch that listed Shaquille O’Neal as a member *NSYNC before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night. TNT showed reaction tweets from the real members of the boy band. Then, Ernie Johnson asked Shaq if he had anything to do with the glitch, and Shaq’s response had Ernie, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith impressed. “When they were young, they recorded their first album at my house, at the studio at my house — *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys,” Shaq said. “True story.”
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.
On an intense moment with Charles Barkley on set during commercial: Ernie Johnson: We’re in the playoffs and we had taken the show on the road and what I have instead of carrying a big old format of the show in front of me with the computer print out, I just kind of jot down a roadmap for the show on these 5 by 7 cards and break into first segment, second segment, third segment and then if we have to make changes – Tim Kiely who’s the producer can say hey we’re going to switch that highlight from segment two to segment three and we have some sound of Gregg Popovich on segment four so I’m jotting this stuff down so I know when we get to it what the traffic is.