Inside the NBA crew gifted replica championships and sneaker belts by AEW

A crossover of TNT's two premier sporting leagues, All Elite Wrestling made a special delivery to the beloved Inside the NBA panelists.
2017 NBA Awards Live On TNT - Inside
2017 NBA Awards Live On TNT - Inside / Kevin Mazur/GettyImages

If you love the game of basketball, then you probably have a special place in your heart for the Inside the NBA crew on TNT. The Emmy Award-winning studio show has been around since 1989, and over the past two decades, the program has solidified its reputation as a leading authority in sports analysis on American television. Unfortunately, reports have recently surfaced indicating the beloved Inside the NBA program is set to be canceled as Warner Bros. Discovery/Turner Broadcasting is close to losing the NBA's broadcast rights following the 2024-2025 season. Nevertheless, no official announcement or details have been revealed putting a final nail in the coffin to the Inside the NBA legacy, but it doesn't look all too great right now.

Be that as it may, we still have the iconic TNT guys (Ernie Johnson, Kenny "The Jet" Smith, Shaquille O'Neal, and Charles Barkley) for a potential last dance run. The usual hosts are occasionally joined by other prominent NBA figures, including Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. On the late-night May 29 edition of Inside the NBA, the boys were treated to a special delivery courtesy of Tony Khan, The Young Bucks, and All Elite Wrestling.

The Inside the NBA crew were crowned champions courtesy of their TNT partners, All Elite Wrestling.

During Ernie Johnson's classic "EJ's Neat-O Stat of the Night" segment, an AEW Dynamite promo aired hyping up the company's flagship Wednesday night program with such stars as newly-crowned champions Mercedes Mone and Will Ospreay. Immediately following this, EJ revealed that AEW gifted the boys a set of custom replica championship belts, to which the crew was pleasantly surprised.

At first, Ernie Johnson was under the impression there were only four belts made, but it turned out there were five to go around, giving their guest host Draymond Green one for himself. Professional wrestling is no new territory for the Inside the NBA crew, especially for hosts Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley. Barkley is a known fan of pro wrestling, while Shaq Diesel has even dabbled in some in-ring action, performing on the WWE's biggest stage WrestleMania, and appearances in AEW (where he is undefeated).

The boys were also treated to some sneaker belts, a special gift courtesy of AEW EVPs The Young Bucks, to which "you attach that to your shoelaces, and then the belts go on the back of the shoe". After EJ explained their use, the crew made fun of Charles Barkley's dress shoes he had on from the other night, which he was also wearing on the May 29th edition of Inside the NBA. Barkley hyped up his snazzy kicks, to which he jokingly called his fellow panelists "haters".

Crossover and peculiar moments like this are what makes Inside the NBA such a universally loved program. Many basketball enthusiasts can't imagine a world where Inside the NBA is no longer a thing and something else will have to replace it. Another thing too is the special nature of the hosts, Ernie Johnson, Shaq, Chuck, and Kenny. They have restrictive contracts or just wouldn't continue banding together on a new program if Inside the NBA was canceled. Fans will just have to hope it isn't truly the end of an era and Inside the NBA will continue to live on, at least for a few more solid years.

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