With the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals taking place in Milwaukee for the first time since 2001, it afforded TNT’s “Inside The NBA” host Ernie Johnson a unique opportunity: to return to the neighborhood he grew up in.
Johnson, now 62, and the rest of his crew were on site doing pre and postgame inside Fiserv Forum, and before Friday’s Game 2 they went back and visited Johnson’s childhood home in the Enderis Park neighborhood of Milwaukee. The neighborhood held a block party for the homecoming, and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett declared the day, May 17th, to be “Ernie Johnson, Jr. Day.”
After mingling with the current inhabitants of the neighborhood, as well as being surprised by the arrival of a couple that lived next door to Johnson when he was young, they took a tour of his old home. The crew then reminisced about their experience after the Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. After a video package ran showing footage from their day, Johnson was visibly emotional when the cameras returned to the set.
“That was awesome,” Johnson said, fighting back tears. “What a cool night.”
Johnson said he moved out of the house they visited when he was only eight, but he clearly remains very attached to the memories of his upbringing there. It was a touching moment for Johnson, and a really cool gesture by the city of Milwaukee.