"Inside The NBA" Celebrates Ernie Johnson's 30th Year With TNT
TNT's "Inside the NBA" hosts recognized Ernie Johnson's 30th year doing NBA coverage in a special segment on last night's show. The broadcast aired footage of Johnson arriving at the TNT Studios, where he was greeted at the security gate by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, the Univ. of Georgia (Johnson's alma mater) marching band and a large crowd of well wishers. Co-host Charles Barkley said the celebration was "awesome." He said of Johnson, "When I first got this job he said, 'Chuck, I need to pull you aside and talk to you.' I said, 'Yes Ernie, what's up?' He said, 'How long are you going to be here?' I said, 'Two years max.' I'm on year 19 but that's how much I love my job and working with this guy." Co-host Kenny Smith said, "This is just an outward show of love of how we feel inside about you. ... 'Inside the NBA' is orchestrated by you and we get to benefit." Shaquille O'Neal: "We wouldn't be anything without you. You are the guy that keeps us out of trouble, keeps us in line (and) I appreciate your friendship." The broadcast later aired more taped praise and congratulations for Johnson's anniversary ("Inside the NBA," TNT, 11/22).