Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Has Reached Long-Term Contract Extensions with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal
TNT’s Iconic Inside the NBA Studio Show Team to Stay Together for Many Years to Come
Warner Bros. Discovery Sports has now reached agreements with all four members of TNT’s iconic Inside the NBA studio show — Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal — to ensure the team will remain together for many years to come. Inside the NBA, known for its incomparable blend of sports and entertainment commentary, delivered in its signature style, has earned 17 Sports Emmy Awards throughout its illustrious run.
“Our partnership with the NBA is very important to us and this long-term agreement with the Inside the NBA team is recognition of their significance to that relationship,” said Luis Silberwasser, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports. “Inside the NBA epitomizes the creativity and innovative spirit we’ve established throughout our successful, long-standing legacy with the league.”
“We’re incredibly proud of Inside the NBA and all it has achieved throughout its storied history — helping to define and share in the culture of the NBA and its fans — and so much of that success can be attributed to the chemistry between Ernie, Charles, Kenny and Shaquille,” said Lenny Daniels, President, WBD Sports US. “In our industry, it’s so rare to find a show that transcends sports media, but Inside the NBA has earned its reputation as one of the best in television history.”
“We’re all a big family. Ernie, Kenny and Shaquille are brothers to me, and I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for them and all the amazing people who work on our show,” said Barkley. “I’m not gonna lie, though, this is a life-altering deal…and I’m blessed to be able to do live television for a living.”
“I always say there are ‘Got to, jobs’ and Get to, jobs,’ and the four of us clearly have ‘Get to, jobs’,” said Johnson. “It’s been a journey of a lifetime to work on this show, with Charles, Kenny and Shaquille at the desk and alongside such an amazingly talented crew behind the scenes. I’m very blessed.”
“You may have heard, I’ve been on a championship team in my day, but there’s nothing quite like this one,” said Smith. “I’ve always wanted to continue doing the show as long as we’re having fun — and we’re still having a LOT of it. I’m excited for the season and many more to come.”
“I’m happy for ‘The Godfather’ and Kenneth… is there someone else I’m forgetting?” O’Neal said. “I’m kidding…love you, Charles. As long as I say, “Are you not entertained?” and the answer is ‘Yes,’ then we’re going to keep this thing going.”
About TNT’s Inside the NBA
Over its 33 years on television, Inside the NBA has established itself as the preeminent NBA studio show and one of the most celebrated sports studio shows of all time. Its free-wheeling, unscripted format is driven by the larger-than-life personalities on the show and the tireless efforts of crew members behind the camera. This work has been recognized across the sports broadcasting industry including Inside the NBA being inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame awarding its first ever Transformative Media Award to the show in 2020. The show’s more than 30-year history was chronicled in the four-part Sports Emmy nominated documentary series, The Inside Story.
About Ernie Johnson
Entering his 33rd season with the Company as host of NBA telecasts, Johnson is a six-time Sports Emmy Award winner and one of the most highly regarded figures in sports broadcasting today. In addition to hosting Inside the NBA, Johnson also hosts studio coverage for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship airing across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – including the Final Four and National Championship – as well as MLB on TBS regular season and postseason coverage. He also regularly appears on the organization’s premiere live event golf series, The Match, among other major WBD Sports properties. Alongside Barkley, he co-hosts The Steam Room, a weekly podcast that invites guests to explore conversations beyond the world of basketball.
About Charles Barkley
Barkley,a four-time Sports Emmy Award winner for outstanding sports personality, joined the Company in 2000, providing studio analysis for NBA games while making appearances on NBA TV, including The Finals. He also serves as a studio analyst throughout the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and has regularly appeared on the The Match telecasts, among other major Warner Bros. Discovery Sports properties. He has also lent his thoughtful, and compelling voice to several WBD projects touching on sports, politics, pop culture and society, including American Race, The Arena, and most recently The Great Debate with Charles Barkley. Barkley, a first-round pick out of Auburn in 1984, played 16 years in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. Career highlights for one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history include winning the 1993 NBA MVP Award, along with being an 11-time NBA All-Star and a member of the NBA’s 75th and 50thAnniversary Teams. He was also a member of the original Olympic “Dream Team.”
About Kenny Smith
Smith, a two-time NBA Champion with the Houston Rockets, is in his 24th year as studio analyst for Inside the NBA. He also makes regular appearances as a studio analyst for NBA TV, including on site at The Finals for select games. Smith is also an analyst for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. Born and raised in New York City, Smith was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
About Shaquille O’Neal
O’Neal joined the Company in 2011, appearing as a studio analyst for Inside the NBA and NBA on TNT Tuesday, while also contributing to a number of platforms, including additional shows and segments airing on TNT and NBA TV. He also hosts The Big Podcast with Shaq alongside Nischelle Turner and Spice Adams. Prior to entering broadcasting, O’Neal enjoyed a 19-year NBA career after being drafted first overall in 1992. A three-time NBA Finals MVP, he won four NBA Championships (three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat), was a 15-time NBA All-Star and ranks eighth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. In September 2016, O’Neal was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and he is a member of the NBA’s 75th and 50th Anniversary Teams.
2022-23 NBA Opening Night
The Inside the NBA studio team will return as part of TNT’s 2022 Kia NBA Tip-Off coverage on Tuesday, Oct. 18, featuring the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors hosting the Los Angeles Lakers at 10 p.m. ET. Earlier in the night, a star-studded Eastern Conference matchup will mark the 27th consecutive season that TNT will tip off the season as the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics host the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:30 p.m. Live pregame coverage from San Francisco will begin at 5 p.m.