The "Inside The NBA" cast signing off for 2023-24. The “Inside The NBA” cast signing off for 2023-24. (Awful Announcing on X/Twitter.)

The Minnesota Timberwolves weren’t in great form in a series-ending 124-103 loss to the Dallas Mavericks Thursday, but TNT Sports’ Inside The NBA cast was for their season-ending broadcast. Amidst a ton of discussion on if their parent company will lose NBA rights after 2024-25 and what that could mean for the show, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal brought their typical sense of levity to the proceedings.

The Inside The NBA cast didn’t make the whole broadcast about themselves, TNT’s NBA coverage in general, or the show and what might be ahead for it. But they did work in plenty of one-liners on what this one might mean. To start with, here’s how they signed off, with a note (from Barkley, who’s been the one member of the cast really talking about the future with media) on this possibly being their penultimate season:

A notable part of Inside The NBA‘s success over the years has been not just the four on-air figures, but also those behind the scenes doing production, graphics, and more. They’ve done on-air shoutouts to those figures in the past, and Barkley has referenced how important they (and all those who work on TNT Sports’ NBA coverage) are in the media. Players like Dereck Lively II have also referenced how much appearing on segments like “Shaqtin A Fool” means to them.

Well, one of those most popular segments is the “Gone Fishin'” sendoff of teams ending their season, which always has some jokes. And this time, the graphics team included the on-air cast as well (which they’ve often done for the final show of the year). There, they incorporated jokes about Anthony Edwards’ “Bring Ya A**” line on Barkley (quickly embraced as a redirect to a Minnesota tourism site), but also an old Turner logo. And that teed up Barkley for another one of his recent shots at changing management in their parent company, which is now Warner Bros. Discovery:

Speaking of players’ comments on the show, Mavericks’ star Luka Dončić (who had 36 points and 10 rebounds on the night) provided a “You ain’t done yet. We gotta figure out something” during an on-set interview. Johnson then reinforced that they do have at least one more year, and that nothing has been determined on what’s after that.

So, there was certainly plenty of talk of what might or might not be ahead. But it was done in Inside The NBA‘s usual jocular style, and only when it fit. And there were lots of jokes on other topics too, including perhaps the line of the night from Johnson.

There are definitely many hoping this won’t be the second-to-last season for Inside The NBA, whether that’s at TNT Sports, fully at another company, or independent and licensed somewhere. But the show illustrated some of why it’s so beloved in its 2023-24 signoff Thursday.

[Awful Announcing on X/Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.