Ernie Johnson’s day at work Thursday was a little different then normal. When Johnson rolled up to the Turner compound, he was met not by the normal security guard, but by comedian Jeff Foxworthy (a long-time friend of Johnson’s). That led to Foxworthy escorting Johnson to a giant party the Turner team threw for Johnson’s 30th year of working there, complete with Johnson’s family, the NBA on TNT group, the University of Georgia marching band, and the revelation that Turner has planted blackberry bushes outside Johnson’s office to bring up the “blackberry moments” he’s often spoken about (his phrase for life’s sweetest times, which dates back to a baseball game when he was eight, where two fielders stopped looking for a home run when they found wild blackberries):
Jeff Foxworthy and the Turner family surprised Ernie at work to celebrate his 30 years at NBA on TNT! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/l9IyaKxnDN
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) November 22, 2019
Johnson’s speech at the end is touching. “This is, this is crazy. All the nice things you guys have said, you’ve got no idea how that rests right here (touching his heart). I’ve had 30 years of driving here because I get to, and that is such a blessing. I love this place, I love this company and the people who make it up. So thank you for this; it’s totally unnecessary, but so appreciated. Here’s to countless blackberry moments down the road. Love you all. Thank you.”
It’s neat to see Turner recognize Johnson’s career this way. 30 years anywhere is rare in the media business, and the 63-year-old Johnson has been such a key part of so many things Turner Sports has done over the years, from Inside The NBA to MLB coverage to PGA coverage, NCAA tournament coverage, NFL coverage, and Olympics coverage. It’s nice to see him get this kind of internal celebration of his career to this point.
[The NBA on TNT on Twitter]