The "Inside the NBA" team is one of the most popular panels in sports. Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith all have an impeccable chemistry. But Ernie Johnson is the glue.
That was recognized officially Thursday when Johnson was informed he'll be part of the 2023 class of Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductees. And who better to deliver the news than Barkley?
"It's an honor and a privilege to congratulate Ernie Johnson going into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame," Barkley said on the set of "The Match" golf special on TNT.
Ernie Johnson learns that he's a 2023 Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductee. Charles Barkley delivers the news. 📺🎙️👏 pic.twitter.com/HbAfduZsUL— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) June 29, 2023
The news was met with a "What're you talking about?" from Johnson before he snapped back into his usual demeanor. He took off his headset and proclaimed, "I'm taking the rest of the day off" before giving his thank yous.
Johnson is a staple of nearly all of Turner's marquee programming. He has been the studio host of "Inside the NBA" since 1989, he's a host of "MLB on TBS," a play-by-play broadcaster on TBS, and the lead host of Turner Sports' March Madness coverage.
If anyone was going to give the news, there was no one better than Chuck. Johnson spoke earlier in the month with Dan Le Batard about his relationship with the "Inside the NBA" crew.— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) June 2, 2023
"I'm in the fortunate position of getting us from Point A to Point B to Point C with three guys who have been in every conceivable situation in a basketball game," Johnson said. "So nobody at home cares what I think about might be being said in a huddle with 1.7 seconds to go. They want to hear from the guys who've been there. So it's up to me to try to bring out the best in these three guys. And knowing your role is vital, you know?"
Johnson added: "We love each other, truly . . . I grew up with two older sisters and this is as close as I'll ever come to having brothers."
That's why Barkley telling Johnson of the Hall of Fame honor makes it that much more special.