By Drew Zuhosky
I know the sports world is abuzz with talk of the World Series. It seems everywhere I go people are saying “Indians vs. Cubs. Someone’s streak’s got to end. Yada, yada, yada…”
While Cleveland and Chicago do battle on the field this week, with Game 3 being played tomorrow night in Chicago on FOX, this week also marks the beginning of another year of NBA basketball.
With the start of the new season also comes the start of a great studio show, TNT’s postgame, “Inside The NBA.”
The program, a nine-time Emmy Award winner, is hosted by Ernie Johnson and features analysis from Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Charles Barkley.
Recently, “Inside” became the third sports program to be inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
In my opinion, what makes “Inside” such a great show is the series of hilarious moments that have gone on over the years.
Who could forget last year when Shaq walked into Studio J in Atlanta right before he and his colleagues were to take to the air for the Tip-Off Show — except Shaq wasn’t wearing his pants.
Shaq was given pajama pants later on in the night. On that evening’s “Inside,” it was revealed that producer Joe Underhill (known on the show as “Underdog”) stole Shaq’s pants and talked to Kenny outside the Turner complex, saying that he did it to get back at Shaq for always saying “Underdog, put that on a T-shirt!”
Underdog threw Shaq’s trousers into a nearby trash can. Soon after, the pants caught on fire.
Or, how about the moment from several years ago during the halftime report of the Dec. 19, 2013 San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors when Chuck said that if he were still an active NBA player, he’d arrive at the arena by spaceship — going on to confuse the name of cartoon character Elroy Jetson as Leroy Jetson.
From there, the crew narrated highlights of that night’s earlier Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder contest, while singing their descriptions to the tune of “The Jetsons” theme song.
During halftime of the Christmas night game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Bulls in 2014, Kenny was running to the video board to analyze the first half for his usual “Kenny’s Pictures” segment. Shaq raced him, and Kenny wound up shoving him into a Christmas tree on set!
This prompted several instant replays of the collision. Conan O’Brien later asked Kenny about it on his show, and Kenny confirmed it was Shaq’s idea.
Of course, no one, and I mean NO ONE, will ever be able to forget the funniest of all the funny moments on “Inside The NBA.” Let’s go back to 2008, after Kenny’s child was born.
During the “EJ’s Neat-O Stat of the Night” segment, a clip of that night’s Tip-Off Show was replayed, during which Kenny was talking about how excited he was to have an evening free of changing dirty diapers.
“No changin’ diapers tonight! She’s on her own,” Kenny said. If only Kenny and Chuck knew what came next.
“Inside” staged a diaper-changing contest between the two of them. Before the contest, each was presented a doll that needed its diaper changed. A few seconds into the contest, Chuck got a disgusting surprise.
In order to simulate a dirty diaper, the production crew melted a few candy bars and put the candy bars in the diaper of the doll assigned to Chuck. Note: If you watch the video of the clip carefully, you’ll be able to see him nearly faint at the sight of the diaper.
Chuck proceeds to do terribly with the diaper, doing everything from not cleaning the doll, still having baby powder in the new diaper and even putting the diaper on backwards.
“Inside The NBA” is one of my favorite shows. I usually watch the show’s Friday morning repeats on NBA TV as the live broadcast on TNT is on late, around 1 a.m. ET after the second game of the NBA on TNT doubleheader.
I want to wish everybody involved with “Inside” continued success and good luck this season. I salute you!