1. I write about Inside the NBA a lot because it’s far and away the best sports studio show on television.
Normally, I highlight the frivolity and antics put forth by Ernie, Chuck, Kenny and Shaq, such as Charles Barkley calling Shaquille O’Neal a “Karen” or Ernie Johnson giving Barkley a cognitive test.
But the crew has shown it can also handle serious topics and conduct important conversations.
That took place once again Sunday when the hosts had an in-depth discussion about Montrezl Harrell calling Luka Dončić a “b****-ass white boy” during Friday’s Clippers-Mavericks game. Harrell apologized to Dončić before Game 4 of the series on Sunday.
The conversation was raw and honest. No sound bites thrown out there to generate headlines, no carnival barking, no phony outrage.
While Shaq seemingly wanted to chalk up the incident to regular trash talk, Kenny Smith and Barkley did their best to explain why they felt it’s not that simple, with Barkley saying, “you don’t get to have a double standard” when it comes to using race to insult someone.
Smith said, “As African Americans, for me, my whole thing is, I don’t want to be identified. So if we’re gonna be asked not to be identified, and I think Montrezl understands, you can’t identify him. If I would’ve just said the first part of it, I’m just angry and talking smack. It’s a habit you have to break. It’s a habit in sports I think we all have to break.”
The entire seven-minute segment is worth watching. And if everything I laid out doesn’t entice you to hit play, there’s also this: You can hear Ernie Johnson say, “b****-ass white boy,” not once, but twice.
2. The best part of Luka Dončić’s crazy, game-winning three-pointer Sunday was that ESPN’s Mike Breen gave it a double “bang.”
Even LeBron knew that was a special call.
3. We take a break from giving you Fernando Tatís Jr. home runs to give you a truly insane defensive play by Fernando Tatís Jr.
4. There were a lot of tributes to Kobe Bryant, who would’ve turned 42 years old on Sunday. The Dodgers’ tribute was narrated by the legendary Vin Scully.
5. This week’s SI Media Podcast features a conversation with Keith Hernandez.
Hernandez, who calls Mets games for SNY, took a lot of heat for siding with the Rangers and Padres manager Jayce Tingler against Fernando Tatís Jr., after Tatís hit a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch with the Padres up 10-3 in the eighth inning.
However, Hernandez explains on the podcast that he’s rethought his position and has a different take now.
The former MVP also shares several awesome stories about his legendary cameo on “The Boyfriend” episode of Seinfeld. Hernandez talks about how Larry David helped him deliver his memorable “I’m Keith Hernandez” line while also coming clean about his Seinfeld fandom.
6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy 75th birthday to Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: If you like hearing baseball players say the f-word, you will enjoy this compilation from this bizarre season.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.