Charles Barkley Surprises Ernie Johnson Prior To ‘The Match’ By Informing Him Of Induction Into Sports Broadcasting Hall Of Fame

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“The Match” is annual charity golf match between stars from around the sports world. This year’s version features Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs teammates Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce facing former NBA champion Golden State Warriors teammates Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The event is hosted by Ernie Johnson and the TNT crew, including Charles Barkley.

Why is Charles Barkley hosting a golf event? Because he’s the best broadcaster in sports television. TNT has a chance to get him on TV and they’re going to do it.

Really, the same can be said for Ernie Johnson. Johnson hosts TNT’s “Inside the NBA” with Barkley, Shaq and Kenny Smith. Shaq and Smith are not part of “The Match” coverage.

Charles Barkley surprised Ernie Johnson by announcing EJ's induction into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame juts before TNT's "The Match."
Charles Barkley surprised Ernie Johnson by announcing EJ’s induction into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame juts before TNT’s “The Match.” (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Turner Sports)

Just before the start of “The Match,” Barkley asks Johnson if he can say something.

In true Johnson fashion, he responds, “I think you already are, Chuck.”

“This is big,” Barkley says. “I’m the only one person up here that knows this. I want to be the first person — it’s an honor and a privledge — to congratulate Ernie Johnson going into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.”

After a brief silence, Ernie Johnson — in disbelief — responds “Get out of here. Chuckster what are you talking about?

“Man, that is awesome. Thank you so much.”

Johnson thanks everyone for helping him get to this point. He says he is “humbled beyond words” and appears to hold back some tears.

It’s a really touching video and a great honor for a terrific broadcaster.

Charles Barkley surprises Ernie Johnson with Hall of Fame induction

I had the pleasure of meeting Ernie Johnson when I worked at ESPN. I produced Jeremy Schaap’s radio show and the two talked for over 30 minutes.

Johnson could not have been more forthright, polite, and gracious. Oftentimes people of his stature don’t talk to behind-the-scenes folks like producers.

But Johnson happily chatted with me several minutes before and after the interview.

And his story is something incredible, too. I know I shouldn’t promote ESPN content here, but Johnson’s story is worth sharing. You can hear the conversation between Johnson and Schaap here.

Quite honestly, one of the best moment of my 10-year ESPN career.

The long and the short of it is that Johnson and his wife have two biological children and adopted four others. One of the adopted children, Michael, died in 2021 after battling a genetic disorder. He was 33.

Congratulations, on the Hall of Fame induction, EJ.

Well-deserved honor for a great man.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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