Ernie Johnson Believes The ‘Inside The NBA’ Crew Is ‘As Close As I’ll Ever Come To Having Brothers’

Inside The NBA shares a special familial quality as a sports studio show. TNT has accomplished a rare feat by producing the show with the same on-air talent for over two decades now, and we’ve covered the behind the scenes folks who really make the show hum.

But the chemistry and continuity between Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal weave together the familial fabric of the show. Johnson recently sat down with Dan Le Batard to discuss the special bond the Inside crew shares, and made clear that there’s something special about this group.

In addition to being the funniest sports show on television, the continuity between the Inside crew allows their basketball discourse to flow organically without feeling like a roundtable session for each segment. They have watched hundreds of games together, including some of the most iconic playoff games from this century. That collective experience really shines through after big games, because Ernie always knows how to steer the conversation to create space for a monologue or build tension when Kenny, Chuck, or Shaq disagree, all while knowing that they have the time and space to do whatever they want. The natural conclusion to the show each night makes the viewer feel like part of the show, and that ultimately, the four guys you see on the screen are family.