|Inside The NBA|
Ernie Johnson Jr.|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||30-60 minutes|
NBA TV (2003-present)
|Original release||November 4, 1989- present|
Inside the NBA is the postgame show for NBA on TNT broadcasts. The program features host Ernie Johnson with analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal, with supporting or fill-in analysts including Chris Webber and Grant Hill. The show has won nine Emmy Awards, while Johnson has won three as a studio host and Barkley has won three as a studio analyst.
Since Barkley joined the show in 2001, Inside the NBA gained popularity for the chemistry and banter of the hosts.
Barkley has also been known for his controversial comments and outrageous bets. In late 2002, Barkley told Kenny Smith that he would "kiss [his] ass" if Houston Rockets then-rookie Yao Ming scored nineteen points in a game, which was followed by Yao doing exactly that later that week. As a result, on Listen Up! With Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson that Thursday, Barkley kissed the rear end of a donkey that Smith brought into the studio. In 2002, a controversial Sports Illustrated cover, in which Barkley was portrayed in chains (as a slave), led to a sometimes heated debate on the TNT studio show. During the 2006 NBA Playoffs, in response to performer David Blaine's attempt to stay under water for nine minutes, Barkley duplicated the stunt with a small tub of water but only managed to stay under water for 24 seconds. Barkley has also been weighed on air several times, and once said "bullshit" live on air.
Following the release of Django Unchained, Barkley will joke he isn't going to "take it any more master," referring to Ernie Johnson. Johnson has a whip sound effect he uses when Barkley or O'Neal's conversations go far off topic, and for a segment called "The Whip" that provoked jokes from the other hosts - for example, Smith saying, "Revolt, revolt!" Smith has also been the brunt of jokes before, an example being the "retirement" of his jersey on air. In reality, it was a Tracy McGrady jersey with Smith's name put on a clothesline and "raised" to the TNT studio roof on a clothesline with various undergarments. Most of the jokes were featured as Ernie Johnson's E.J.'s Neat-O Stat of the Night, the show's closing segment.
The popularity of the program has led the NBA to air reruns of the show (as well as reruns other TNT NBA studio programs, NBA Tip-Off, the American Express Halftime Report and Game Break) on the TNT Overtime on NBA.com. Analysts from the show have also been featured in the popular NBA 2K video game series beginning with NBA 2K15.
In addition to winning nine Emmy Awards, it was announced live on the May 11th, 2016 edition that Inside was to be inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in October 2016, becoming just the twelfth program to receive the honor and the third sports show to do so after SportsCenter and Monday Night Football.
Barkley came under fire by some in 2006, due to his criticism of Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant. After Game 6 of the Lakers' first round series against the Phoenix Suns (when Bryant scored 50 points and the Lakers lost in overtime), Barkley criticized him for scoring too much and not getting his teammates involved. After Game 7 of the same series (when Bryant did not score and hardly attempted any shots in the second half), Barkley ripped him for being unselfish. Some columnists thought that Barkley was being hypocritical. Bryant and Barkley exchanged several text messages about the issue, and during the second round of the playoffs, Bryant appeared on TNT's studio show. Bryant and Barkley had a mild debate about the issue, and some observers thought that Barkley was too easy on Bryant, considering his previous comments about him.
While filling in for an injured Steve Kerr on a Los Angeles Lakers-Sacramento Kings broadcast, Charles Barkley made disparaging comments about the age of referee Dick Bavetta. The conversation between Barkley and play-by-play man Marv Albert eventually led him to comment that he could outrun Bavetta, and any other man of his age (Bavetta was 67 at the time).
This led Johnson and Smith to note that Bavetta, a physically fit referee whose job required him to run up and down the court on a nightly basis, would likely beat Barkley in a race. Bavetta challenged Barkley to a footrace, which was then scheduled for the upcoming All-Star Weekend.
The race was heavily hyped on the Internet, receiving some mainstream attention as well. Several NBA players weighed in with predictions, and the overwhelming majority picked Bavetta to win the race.
Despite being the underdog, Barkley won the race by a comfortable margin. Both men ended up falling after the race; Bavetta dove for the finish line, and Barkley stumbled backwards and fell upon victory. With the race decided, the two exchanged a friendly hug and kiss. The race raised $50,000 for charity, and All-Star Saturday Night on TNT drew its highest number of television households in its twenty-two-year history.
During the 2007 NBA Playoffs, following the Golden State Warriors' upset of the Dallas Mavericks, Barkley made some degrading comments about Oakland, California, saying things such as "it makes me mad, mad that they're in Golden State and not LA" and "it's not a city". In response, the scoreboard at the Oracle Arena began showing a graphic of the Warriors' mascot throwing a pie at Barkley.
Oakland native and NBA legend Gary Payton, in his trademark competitive, trash-talking style, went around Oakland with a video camera to rebuke some of Barkley's comments and get some of the locals' opinions on Barkley and his comments, with Payton providing some of his own comments about "Sir Charles" and providing quips such as "It ain't no thrift store, it's Oakland". The humorous segment, which also included embarrassing vintage coverage of Barkley being dunked on in a game against Golden State, aired during Inside the NBA's playoff coverage of the series between the Warriors and the Utah Jazz. The clip culminated with a shot of Payton standing in front of the San Francisco Bay saying "How do you feel about my city now, Chuck? ... Now, come see me, in person, here. I've got a surprise for you, too, a lot of Krispy Kreme donuts." The humorous controversy was subsequently put to rest.