1. The Inside the NBA show we see today with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal is a well-oiled machine that never fails to entertain.
However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some bumps along the road.
On a recent appearance on the All the Smoke podcast, Kenny Smith shared some incredible stories about Shaq joining the cast in 2011 and what those early days were like when the Diesel had to mix in with an already established crew.
“Shaq used to come in and be Shaq,” said Smith. “Shaq is a movie. He’s got 10 people coming in. He created a hookah lounge in the studio and they let him do this. He was like, ‘I have to have my hookah.’ So he has a hookah lounge outside and they put a TV outside the studio. We got a green room. Like, yo, me and Chuck in the green room. We’ve been doing this for 15 years together. This dude’s gonna come in, y’all gonna build a hookah lounge for him? Like, what the f— was going on?”
Smith also explained how O’Neal would come to work with a large entourage and that all of this didn’t sit well with Barkley.
So one night, Barkley and Smith saw an opportunity to jump on Shaq, and they did.
“So now he’s not watching the games,” Smith said about Shaq. “He’s DJing. Literally, DJ equipment. Kid you not. He’s practicing his DJing while the game is going on.
“They let him get away with all that because he’s Shaq. So now he comes on the show and he says something like, ‘DeAndre Jordan needs to’ … but DeAndre Jordan wasn’t playing that night.
“So me and Charles, cause we sit next to each other, I’m hitting him and he’s hitting me. We’re going, get his ass today. We were just lighting into him. And now we’re saying stuff about the game because we know he didn’t watch.
“So then our producer comes downstairs and he’s like, ‘What the f— is goin on? Y’all are giving him a hard time. You’re embarrassing him on national TV.’
“I’m like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. Since when don’t we make fun of each other when you don’t know your s—?’
“And then the producer goes, ‘You’re right. Go. Get him.’”
Smith then explained that from that day on, it was all smooth sailing with Shaq on the Inside the NBA set.
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Unfortunately, Smith did not reveal whether the hookah lounge still exists.
2. Whenever JJ Redick scores a win over Stephen A. Smith on First Take, Twitter lights up with “Stephen A. is never gonna invite JJ back” tweets. So when Smith appeared on a recent episode of Redick’s The Old Man & The Three podcast, Redick asked Smith whether he was ever endanger of not getting invited back.
3. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Charissa Thompson will lead Amazon’s studio show for Thursday Night Football.
4. Joe Maddon’s firing last week is even sadder than we realized. Shortly before getting the ax, he got a mohawk as a way to lighten the mood around his struggling team. The players never got to see said mohawk.
5. Kyrie Irving woke up on Monday and had thoughts.
6. This week’s SI Media Podcast features a conversation on the latest sports media news with The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis. Among the topics covered:
- What went wrong between Drew Brees and NBC
- Is a mainstream NFL outlet ready to take a chance on Pat McAfee?
- ABC/ESPN’s NBA Finals studio show
- Is LeBron getting a podcast?
- Overuse of “breaking news” banners on TV
Following the conversation with Curtis, Sal Licata from WFAN/SNY in New York joins me our weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, we do a deep dive into Kevin Durant’s response to Sal on Twitter and saying that sports talk radio “makes him nauseous.”
You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Actor Philip Baker Hall died this weekend. Seinfeld fans will remember Hall for playing Detective Bookman in the episode “The Library.”
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.