ernie johnson

Ernie Johnson is out promoting his new book, Unscripted, and he’s found a bit that will wow any interviewer: mimicking his TNT colleague Shaquille O’Neal.

In a video tweeted out Wednesday, Sports Illustrated asked Johnson about Shaq, and the Inside the NBA host burst into an incredible impression.

It turns out all you have to do to imitate Shaq is to talk about YouTube and lower your voice so it sounds like, as Kenan Thompson once said on SNL, you have four championship rings stuck in your throat.

Ernie pointed out (in a Shaq voice) that, “When you sit next to a guy that long, you pick up on the mannerisms and you pick up on what it’s like to be the most dominant big man in the history of the NBA.”

Now, we don’t know exactly when SI conducted that interview, but Johnson appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night and did essentially the same bit, though not quite as polished.

Maybe he did the Late Show interview first, then practiced for the SI one.

Johnson had some pretty funny lines on Colbert. He said of Inside the NBA, “It’s been camp counselor, it’s been point guard, it’s been traffic cop,” before clarifying that, “I’m like a rogue traffic cop. I wave Kenny through the intersection, knowing that Shaq will T-bone him.”

While we’re on the subject of Ernie Johnson, SI’s Ben Golliver wrote a profile of the host, in which he discusses his Inside the NBA colleagues, his former teleprompter addiction and his “miracle” son Michael. It’s worth a read.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.