Did Ernie Johnson play in the NBA? Career of Inside the NBA host revealed

Joshua Rogers June 2, 2021
Did Ernie Johnson play in the NBA? Career of Inside the NBA host revealed
Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Turner Sports

Did Ernie Johnson play in the NBA? The beloved Inside the NBA host has had an amazing career and people want to know if he played professional basketball.

Ernie Johnson is one of the most beloved presenters in all of sports.

Johnson is currently the lead television voice for Major League Baseball on TBS, but is most well-known for his role on Inside the NBA.

The presenter is the host for the TNT show and has captivated audiences alongside NBA great likes Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith.

But did Ernie Johnson ever play in the NBA?

Ernie Johnson has a famous father

Born in 1956 in Milwaukee, Ernie Johnson is a son of the former baseball player Ernie Johnson Sr.

His father’s career had a huge impact on the future reporter’s life, as from 1993 to 1996, Ernie Johnson Jr. called baseball games alongside his dad for the Atlanta Braves (the team where his father played).

Johnson Jr. went to the University of Georgia and majored in journalism. While a student, Johnson got his first sportscasting job as the news and sports director for the radio station WAGQ-FM in Athens, Georgia.

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Breakthrough with TNT

Known as “E.J.”, Johnson has worked as the studio host for TNT’s coverage of the NBA, as well as Inside the NBA, since 1990.

The segment E.J.’s Neat-O Stat of the Night has been a popular part of the show for decades.

The long-running joke that the segment is unsullied by sponsorship still remains today.

Did Ernie Johnson play in the NBA?

Johnson has been a reporter and journalist his whole life, although his basketball career has interested fans for years.

It is not known whether he had a college basketball career, and Johnson has no NBA career to speak of.

He has, however, taken part in many basketball-themed segments and shooting competitions on TNT.

His three-point contest a few years back with Charles Barkley was particularly entertaining.

EJ’s health issues

In 2003, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but continued his work through June 2006, when he began treatment.

Johnson returned to Inside the NBA on 31 October, 2006, while continuing his chemotherapy treatments.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.