The ‘Inside the NBA’ Crew Was in Rare Form on Thursday Night

In Friday’s Hot Clicks: Shaq, Chuck, Kenny and Ernie bring the laughs, an emotional return for an NHL player and more.
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These guys still have so much fun

Split image of Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal laughing on the set of 'Inside the NBA'

Finding something fun and interesting to lead this column with can sometimes be a challenge, which is why I love Inside the NBA

Because I have to wake up early to write this, I can’t watch live as Shaq, Chuck, Kenny and Ernie goof around until the early-morning hours ,but I love catching up on what they got up to. On slow days like this (what, am I gonna lead with the prime-time NFL combine testing?), it’s always a good fallback plan to occupy this space with whatever was the best moment from Thursday night’s edition of Inside the NBA. Without fail, there will be something that I’ll have fun writing about and that readers will have reading about. 

But the guys were so good last night that I can’t just pick one moment to highlight here. 

My favorite bit was probably Ernie's roasting Barkley for “one of [his] weakest takes of all time.” 

Chuck said he was going to make a prediction and then just said something that’s undoubtedly true: “If the Portland Trail Blazers get healthy—they get those two guards, they get [Jusuf] Nurkic back—nobody is going to want to play them in the first round of the playoffs.”

Ernie is supposed to be the professional who keeps things on the rails, and he couldn’t resist telling Barkley off for wasting his time. 

There was also Kings minority owner Shaquille O’Neal's predicting Sacramento would make the playoffs while simultaneously forgetting the name of one of their best players.

“Who’s that? Oh, Harrison Barnes,” Shaq said. “He’s on the team?”

A controversial finish to the crew’s trivia game had Barkley yelling, “Bless you, Alex Trebek.”

And of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of Inside the NBA if Barkley didn’t throw shade at Draymond Green. Chuck used his go-to “triple-single” insult once again, but his nonchalant delivery of the barb had Shaq in stitches. 

It’s truly amazing that these guys have been doing this together for so long and it still feels fresh. I hope they never quit.

Awesome moment for Bobby Ryan

Before Thursday night, Senators winger Bobby Ryan hadn’t played an NHL game since Nov. 15, when he entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program to address a problem with alcohol. 

After 100 days away from the game, Ryan returned to the ice in front of his home crowd and scored a hat trick. 

“I knew Ottawa being the community that it is that the reception would be good,” Ryan said after the game. “It just got harder to keep the emotions down throughout the game. It was incredible. They supported me, and I got to contribute. You can’t write that, the way that went. It was just an incredible evening, so thank you to all of them.”

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Email dan.gartland@si.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.