1. If there was one sports media personality who could "go there" with the Jussie Smollett story, it was Charles Barkley. And he went there in a big way Thursday night during halftime of the Lakers-Rockets game.
While the saga had many twists and turns, Barkley focused on one thing: Smollett allegedly paying off people with a check. Of course, as soon as he started opining on the Smollett news, poor Ernie Johnson did his best to ignore it and move on, but Barkley would not be stopped as Shaq egged him on with laughter. "America, let me just tell you something," Barkley said while barely containing himself. "Do not commit crimes with checks. If you're gonna break the law, do not write a check."
You need to watch the clip twice. Once for Barkley and then another time to watch Ernie Johnson's uncomfortableness.
You make think this was in poor taste. You may think it's OK to have a laugh about anything. Either way, you can't deny that the only sports show that could get away with this is Inside the NBA.
2. In other TNT news, Kevin Harlan did a tremendous job of doing play-by-play for a beer spill.
3. This is the correct take by Jeff Van Gundy.
4. The upcoming edition of Monday Night Raw is shaping up to be a big one. There will be a 70th birthday celebration for Ric Flair (prediction: it will end with Becky Lynch attacking Flair) and Roman Reigns will make this return to the show.
5. The latest SI MEDIA PODCAST features an interview with Paul Bissonnette, aka @BizNasty2point0. Topics include, how he transitioned from player to media, how Twitter has helped and hurt him, balancing Coyotes radio gig with the Spittin Chiclets podcast, why he dislikes Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd, Don Cherry's anti-celebration stance, and much more. You can listen to the podcast below or download it on iTunes.
6. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: In honor of Ric Flair's 70th birthday on Monday.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina. You can also follow on Twitter and Instagram.
IN CLOSING: I hope Bohemian Rhapsody wins Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday just because of the ridiculous backlash against it.