Inside the NBA

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Inside The NBA
Inside the NBA title card
Starring Ernie Johnson Jr.
Charles Barkley
Kenny Smith
Shaquille O'Neal
Chris Webber
David Aldridge
Kevin Garnett
Country of origin United States
Running time 30–60 minutes
Original network TNT (1989–present)
NBA TV (2003–present)
Original release November 4, 1989 (1989-11-04) – 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,[1] 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),[2] 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 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.[3]

Catchphrases and quotes

  • "Win or go home" – The main tagline TNT uses for its playoff coverage. With rounds in the NBA Playoffs conducted in a best-of-seven format, the statement carries more weight in meaning as a series extends to its finale. For all of TNT's Game 7s — Dallas-Sacramento in 2003; Miami-New Orleans and Sacramento-Minnesota in 2004; Indiana-Boston, Dallas-Houston and Detroit-Miami in 2005; L.A. Lakers-Phoenix Suns, San Antonio-Dallas and L.A. Clippers-Phoenix in 2006; a May 3 triple-header of Atlanta-Indiana, Memphis-Oklahoma City, and Golden State-L.A. Clippers in 2014; San Antonio-L.A. Clippers in 2015; and Indiana-Toronto and Golden State-Oklahoma City in 2016 — the phrase has been used in the pregame montage and in the graphics during the game.
  • "Gone fishin'" – The most notable of TNT's catchphrases. It is used whenever a team is knocked out of the playoffs (or a team failed to make the playoffs), and is usually accompanied by doctored photos of players on the team on fishing boats with analyst Kenny Smith. Reportedly, it has its roots in the 90s - when the Suns had a chance to eliminate a team, their gorilla mascot would have a fishing pole on hand to indicate the opponents would be "gone fishin'". Occasionally, Barkley or Smith will wear fishing hats when they anticipate a team's elimination from the playoffs. In addition to players, notable figures from the city of the eliminated team often show up (e.g., Condoleezza Rice, who was doctored into a Gone Fishin' photo after the Washington Wizards were eliminated from the 2005 playoffs). The catchphrase has gotten popular enough to warrant its own page on[4] and has also become a metaphor for being eliminated from the playoffs. TBS uses similar phrase for when a team gets knocked out of the MLB playoffs, called "Gone huntin'", as most North American hunting seasons occur in mid-to-late fall.[5]
  • "My big fat obnoxious boss" – Barkley's nickname for Inside the NBA producer Tim Kiely; the term is a takeoff on the short-lived FOX television show with the same name.
  • "BIRDMAN BIRDMAN" - O'Neal's call for NBA center Chris Andersen.
  • "Ginobili!" - Barkley's call for San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginóbili.[6]
  • "Underdog, put that on a T-Shirt!" O'Neal's common catchphrase towards Senior Researcher/Producer Joe "Underdog" Underhill. Whenever a snide or humorous remark is made by the crew or if a humorous image is shown, this quote is constantly used by O'Neal or stated in a different way at times to fit the context (ex. "Underdog, put that on a Valentine's Day card!" if something funny is said during or near Valentine's Day). It has even been made as an actual T-shirt.
  • "JAVALE MCGEE!" - O'Neal's call for Los Angeles Lakers center and frequent Shaqtin' a Fool nominee JaVale McGee.
  • "Tragic Bronson!" - O'Neal's call for an outrageous ball-handing or passing mistake on Shaqtin' a Fool, probably an oblique reference to Kevin McHale's 'Tragic Johnson' name for Magic Johnson's end-of-game mistake in Game 2 of the 1984 NBA Finals.

Recurring Segments

  • Shaqtin' a Fool – A blooper segment started by O'Neal when he joined the show in 2012 that has become popular since. Frequent nominees include JaVale McGee, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Young, Otto Porter and Brandon Knight although even All-Stars like LeBron James, Blake Griffin, James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been featured.
  • Area 21 – A segment hosted by Kevin Garnett, who joined the show following his retirement before the 2016-17 season. Noted for being more informal and by the presence of a "cuss button" for when Garnett or a guest wants to swear, which has sometimes gone unused.
  • EJ's Neat-O Stat of the Night – The traditional ending segment, sometimes noted for its lack of continued sponsorship (if there is no sponsor, the phrases "Presented one," and "Unsullied by sponsorship!" are used). However, Johnson has used sponsorships like: Dave & Buster's, Taco Bell, Jim Beam, JBL, and EA Sports as sponsors of the show. It can sometimes feature interesting or humorous stats, but it can also eschew the stats in favor of a humorous segment. Some examples include...
    • The presentation of a Justice League comic made specially by DC Comics for NBA All-Star Weekend 2014 featuring Superman, Green Lantern, Flash and Steel (who O'Neal once played in a movie) and guest-starring O'Neal, Barkley, Smith and Johnson.[7]
    • A segment featuring Kobe Bryant where Smith tried to duplicate Bryant putting on Nikes and jumping over a speeding car.[8]
    • Who He Play For?, A start-of-season customary game where Barkley is challenged to name the new teams of a number of NBA journeymen.
    • A segment reminiscent of a scene in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy where Johnson pulled a Teleprompter prank on Barkley.[9]
    • A free-throw shooting contest between O'Neal and Kristen Ledlow, who had recently been named co-host of the revived Inside Stuff.[10]
    • Tracy McGrady pitching to Johnson, including O'Neal leading the crew in baseball chants and songs, following McGrady pitching one game for the Sugar Land Skeeters.[11]
    • The official announcement of Inside being inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
    • Audio Toons, old conversations and past events, animated by Cartoon Network
  • Players Only – Introduced in 2017, this is the name given to the Monday edition, reserved for players-turned-analysts such as Webber, O'Neal, Garnett, Isiah Thomas, Chris Bosh and Baron Davis.
  • Outside the NBA[12] – Is a Facebook only TV show that debuted on October 20, 2017 where the cast talks about all subjects outside of the NBA.

Charles Barkley

Barkley and Kobe Bryant

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.[13][14] Bryant and Barkley exchanged several text messages about the issue,[15] 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.[16]

Race with Dick Bavetta

While filling in for an injured Steve Kerr on a Los Angeles Lakers-Sacramento Kings broadcast,[17] Charles Barkley made disparaging comments about the age of referee Dick Bavetta.[18] 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.[19][20]

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.[21]

Oakland "controversy"

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."[22] The humorous controversy was subsequently put to rest.

Outside the NBA

Outside the NBA is a Facebook Watch only TV show that debuted on October 20, 2017 where the cast talks about all subjects outside of the NBA.[12]





  1. ^ " NBA - Barkley pays up, but Smith avoids being butt of joke". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Gallery :: Hall of Shame :: siunchained". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  3. ^ EJ's Neat-o Stat of the Night 5/11/2016 - Special Surprise NBA on TNT on YouTube
  4. ^ "Gone Fishin' with Kenny Smith in 2006". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  5. ^ "TBS MLB Studio crew has Gone Huntin'!". Turner Sports account on Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Charles Barkley still does this. Ginobili! • r/NBASpurs". reddit. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  7. ^ NBA All Ball Blog - Inside The NBA Meets the Justice League NBA/DC Comics
  8. ^ EJ's Neat-O Stat of the Night - Kenny Does a Kobe YouTube (produced by TNT)
  9. ^ team, Break. " - Funny, Girls, Babes, Jokes, Videos, Photos, Celebrities, Humor and other keywords people type into Google". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  10. ^ EJ's Neat-O Stat of the Night 11/8/2013 - Shaq vs. Kristen Ledlow YouTube (originally broadcast by TNT)
  11. ^ EJ's Neat-O Stat of the Night 1/18/2016 - T-Mac Pitches to EJ YouTube (originally broadcast by TNT)
  12. ^ a b "Outside the NBA". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Old School Friday - SLAMonline". 11 August 2006. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  14. ^ "BARKLEY MISSES POINT ON KOBE". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  15. ^ " - ABC/ESPN's World Cup coverage plans revealed". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  16. ^ "BARKLEY IS THE COWARD... NOT KOBE". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Sports Media Watch: Barkley in the booth". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  18. ^ "TrueHoop". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Chauncey weighs in on Barkley-Bavetta race". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Bet on Bavetta". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  21. ^ "TNT's Coverage of the 2007 NBA All-Star Game Delivers More than 6.8 Million Viewers". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  22. ^ Gary Payton Wearing Fabricali on YouTube
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