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Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith Offer Moving Tribute to Ernie Johnson on Death of His Son Michael: TRAINA THOUGHTS

1. The sports media world has offered a number of classy tributes to Turner Sports’ Ernie Johnson over the past several days after his son Michael died Friday at the age of 33 from Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The outpouring of well wishes for Johnson and his family has shown that there may not be a more beloved person in sports media.

Tuesday night, it was time for Johnson’s longtime Inside the NBA colleagues, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal, to speak about Michael and the Johnson family.

The show opened with this powerful 2019 video of Ernie talking about him and his wife, Cheryl Ann, adopting Michael, their relationship and how there is value in every person.

Following that video, with Ernie’s usual seat on the set empty, each man delivered thoughtful, raw and genuine words about Ernie and Michael.

While the trio shared stories and memories of Michael, it was the authentic admiration and love that they expressed for Ernie that stood out.

Shaq: “To see a great man like this hurt, it just makes all of us hurt. Ernie, you know I love you. You know we love you. Condolences to you and your family. You know whatever you need from us, you know I’m gonna be there the rest of my life. Thank you for always being nice to me, thank you for allowing me to meet your family and hang out with your family. I know you’re hurting. Take your time coming back.”

Kenny Smith: “I always say this is a gift and a curse of us becoming brothers. When you spend 20 years with Shaq and Charles and Ernie, you’re part of every moment in their life. When Ernie wins his first Emmy, we’re there. When he has his first grandchild, we’re there. … We’re there at all the great moments. That’s the gift. But then the curse is, when you love someone and you’re part of this, you’re part of these moments. … Ernie is usually the person we lean on. So, Ernie, this is the first time you need to lean on us.“

Barkley: “I tell people, Ernie is the best dude in the world. But I wanna give Cheryl her flowers, too. She made the final decision. We do know Ernie’s househusband. She makes all the final decisions. To give that young man a wonderful life, I’m just proud to say I work with Ernie Johnson and Cheryl Johnson. It’s just a privilege. We’re all hurting right now because The Godfather is hurting. It just sucks. Plain and simple. But we love The Godfather and Cheryl Ann. You just gotta hang in there.”

Ernie responded to the love shown by his brothers after the segment via Twitter.

2. Joe Buck's call of Jorge Soler's three-run homer in the third inning last night lived up to the moment. Everything about the call was perfect. Short, to the point, with booming voice to match the booming dinger.

3. Check the date on this tweet from former Major Leaguer Trevor Plouffe.

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4. There have been a lot of wild sports stories over the past three days, but one that flew a little under the radar, that is my favorite, is Von Miller getting traded after reportedly getting into a tiff with teammates overpaying for a Halloween party.

5. The Aaron Rodgers COVID-19 story broke as I was finishing Traina Thoughts, so here are just a few memes going around about whether the Packers QB was vaxxed or not.

6. The guest on this week's SI Media Podcast is former Super Bowl champion Chris Long. Long, who currently hosts the Green Light podcast and appears on Amazon Prime's Thursday Night Football pregame show, talks about the best game of the NFL season, Tom Brady’s giving us more of his personality after leaving New England, his appearance on the ManningCast and why the ManningCast is so good. Long also gives some sound advice to all the sports bettors out there.

Following Long, Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York joins the podcast for our weekly "Traina Thoughts" segment. Topics covered this week are college football’s ridiculous overtime rule, World Series buzz and the premiere episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on AppleSpotify or Stitcher.

You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: In this new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sopranos creator David Chase strongly suggests that Tony did indeed die in the final episode.  

Here is the death scene of Anthony Soprano Jr.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.