For those who have wondered what Turner Sports’ “Inside the NBA” crew is like while they are watching a game, they finally get their chance to find out during this weekend’s All-Star Game.
Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith will be doing “Inside the All-Star Game” on Sunday. The alternate broadcast will air on TBS while TNT has the traditional feed with Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Dwyane Wade.
Johnson said Tuesday that the intent is to react to the game and tell stories, but that it remains a blank canvas as far as how things progress.
“I’m not exactly sure what it’s gonna look like. I don’t know what kind of rabbit holes these guys are gonna go down in the course of that broadcast and what they’re going to bring up. And that is the beauty of it,” Johnson said. “I think it’s gonna be a blast. The possibilities of what’s discussed and what stories are told is kind of unlimited. And that’s frightening and exciting at the same time.”
The TBS broadcast will also include Golden State Warriors All-Star Draymond Green, who signed with the network last month as an analyst while still playing. Green will not play in Sunday’s game due to a lower back injury but will be talking to players on the bench during the first half.
The “Inside the NBA” crew has called games before, even though it has been awhile. Their last game broadcast was Christmas Day 2017 when the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves.
This also isn’t Turner’s first foray into alternate broadcasts. Turner has done “players only” broadcasts during some select NBA games as well as team-specific feeds during the NCAA Final Four.
“We always strive to put the fan first and, now more than ever, we have the opportunity to serve them with multiple viewing options that share best-in-class content values,” Turner Sports chief content officer Craig Barry said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to introducing this new, unique format on TBS, and we believe it will entertain fans through an unparalleled blend of sports, culture and unprecedented access.”