The Ferguson Discussion On Last Night’s ‘Inside The NBA’ Was The Show’s Finest Moment
We spend a lot of time on this website talking about how great "Inside The NBA" on TNT is. We're not the only ones (hello, New York Times) who have noticed that Ernie, Chuck, Kenny and even Shaq make for one of the most unique pre-and-post-game sports shows ever seen. Their ability to weave tangible basketball analysis with social commentary and self-deprecation makes ESPN's overly produced NBA package seem amateur, stagnant and outdated.
And for all the great yet ultimately forgettable (perhaps a better word would be inconsequential) moments in the show's history, last night's show-opening round-table on Ferguson was the program's finest hour. In fact, it felt like a conversation that should have been given at least 60 minutes, rather than a paltry 10. Never has a segment flown by so quickly.
A conversation about Ferguson -- and race and class and police brutality and violence and racial profiling in America -- has gone on outside the boundaries of the show over the last week. There were Chuck's comments on CNN. There was Kenny's open letter. Finally, TNT was able to put these guys in the same room at the same time and let them discuss their views.
It was, unquestionably, one of the most level-headed, respectful and insightful conversations that any television program has put on regarding Ferguson. All viewpoints -- even Shaq's very vague "pro-law enforcement" stance -- were heard and discussed. The subjects disagreed with each other, but reiterated time and again their respect for each other's views. It was a welcome reprieve from the kind of soap-boxing that takes place on networks like Fox News and MSNBC.
The truth is, though Kenny might not want to admit it, we care very much about what these people think. They have proven over the years that despite the fact that they are mere sports analysts, they still have something important to say. Stephen A. Smith says their platform gives them that right. I say they've earned it through the courage of their convictions and the respect they've shown for each other and the conversation at hand. "Inside the NBA" took on a topic that was decidedly outside the world of basketball, and they did the public a great service by doing so.
If you haven't seen it yet, watch:
To allow for this kind of conversation on what is ostensibly a basketball show demonstrates great courage on the part of the panel and the network. Kudos to everyone involved.
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