Charles Barkley Makes Slavery Joke, Ernie Johnson Clearly Unsure How To React

  • Glenn Davis

Well, if Charles Barkley truly is in danger of tiring of the Inside the NBA routine, he’s sure doing an admirable job not letting it show on the air. This segment of last night’s show began innocently enough, with Barkley explaining why he’s not all-in on the Clippers despite their white-hot run of late. I’m not sure I can bring myself to agree with him on this, mostly because the you could force the Clippers to run an offense where every player has to crab walk around the court and I’d still trust Chris Paul to make it work, but it was a point worth exploring.

And then, this happened:

And there’s the type of moment you get on Inside the NBA that you’re not getting on any other studio show in sports – or just about anywhere else on TV, period. A moment that might not be for everyone (though it should be noted that in the comments over at Deadspin, people generally loved the joke, and any talk about it being offensive was pretty much in the form of “Seriously, someone was offended by this?” with no real evidence that anyone actually was offended by it), but that sure had them in stitches.

That’s the key to Inside the NBA – everyone’s having fun, and everyone gets theirs at some point or another (sure, Barkley got one over on Ernie Johnson here, but Barkley can just as easily be the butt of the joke – see here). Personally, full disclosure: the Inside the NBA crew was clearly cool with the line, so I took their cue and got a kick out of it myself, while knowing that for obvious reasons, not everyone could have pulled off such a joke. Yeah, most shows wouldn’t dare go there at all: but this ones willingness to do just that is what’s always separated it from its peers.