For those of you craving TNT’s award-winning NBA coverage, you won’t have to wait until the league is scheduled to return to play at the end of the month.
Turner announced Wednesday that its Tuesday and Thursday crews will return for at least two weeks to begin the month of July. Adam Lefkoe, Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker, and Shaquille O’Neal will be on the air on July 7 and 14, and the Inside The NBA crew of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaq will be live on the 9th and 16th. All shows will begin at 8 p.m. eastern and will be hour-long editions.
The shows will help the NBA ramp up toward the resumption of play, what’s going on around the league, what’s happening in the world with the Black Lives Matter social justice movement, and whatever other current events pop up over the next 30 days. Everything will be done remotely for those four initial shows before the crews fly to Turner’s Atlanta studios for the league’s restart.
“The show itself will look very similar,” Smith told Awful Announcing, “and I think that’s probably gonna feel good for a lot of NBA fans, to have a similarity in the shows. I’m looking forward to just doing the things I enjoy doing. Talking sports is a big part of my life.”
Yahoo Sports reporter Chris Haynes, who has served as a sideline reporter for TNT’s weekly Tuesday telecasts during the second half of the season, will be on the ground inside the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World doing segments, interviews, and various other hits for both the Tuesday and Thursday broadcasts.
Turner’s NBA programming plans between July 21 and 30 are still in the works, but a spokesman did say there will be shows in some form to be announced after the July 4th weekend.
Smith said that the current plan is to have the Inside The NBA crew in Atlanta when the league resumes with just a few staff members on site, a socially distant desk, and separate green rooms for the star quartet. As of now, he said, they’re slated to go to Orlando and be live during the conference finals and then turn things over to ESPN and ABC for what will be a bizarre NBA Finals, beginning at the end of September.
That differs from Turner’s current plans for its broadcast teams, who will reportedly now broadcast live from Orlando after initial speculation and scuttlebutt indicated that they’d call games remotely from Atlanta. The New York Post reported Tuesday that 79-year-old lead play-by-play announcer Marv Albert will not go to Orlando, but will return next season.