The NBA’s Christmas Day schedule is always one of the highlights of the season. Each year on Christmas, the league gives us five games, usually featuring marquee matchups or, at the least, marquee players and franchises.
Not all of the games this year figure to be barnburners or have major playoff implications, but they’ll still be entertaining. Wolves-Lakers is one of those such games on Christmas, featuring a playoff team in Minnesota and, well, a non-playoff team in the Lakers. The Lakers are always a draw, though, and so they remain on the Christmas slate.
Minnesota’s visit to L.A. will be the nightcap on Christmas, tipping off at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT. For the broadcast, Turner has decided to spice things up a bit and do something different than usual. You won’t be hearing one of the normal commentary teams to close out Christmas night, but instead something very different as the entire Inside the NBA crew will be on the call.
Yes, that means Ernie Johnson, Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith will all be in the booth together, with Kristen Ledlow on the sidelines. It’s the first time they’ve all called a live game together and it will be, undoubtedly, a beautiful disaster of sports television.
That’s not to say it will be unwatchable, in fact, it might make it can’t miss TV. A three-person TV booth can often get crowded with people talking over each other, so any four-person booth is bound to be tricky. Add into that this particular group, especially Chuck and Shaq who live to talk over and interrupt each other and you have yourself a recipe for a cacophony of voices trying to get points out all at once, while Ernie valiantly tries to steer the ship.
The best bet for how this will go is to simply expect it to be like an extended version of their pregame, halftime and postgame show, where there’s less calling of the action than you’d be accustomed of seeing in a normal broadcast and a lot of conversation and tangents (much like the Players Only broadcasts on NBA TV). The one reason this figures to work is that Ernie Johnson is a pro, and he’s also a very good play-by-play man, as evidenced by his yearly appearances in the MLB playoffs.
The Inside the NBA crew will also be doing their normal pregame, halftime and postgame shows as well, so you can expect your Christmas to feature a heavy dose of Kenny, Shaq, Chuck, and Ernie if you plan on tuning in all day and night.