Originally written on Awful Announcing  |  Last updated 12/20/11

ESPN's pregame NBA coverage has been lagging far behind TNT's Inside the NBA crew for a long, long time.  To try and bolster their on-air NBA lineup in the studio, ESPN pursued the biggest television free agent this summer, Shaquille O'Neal.  However, Shaq decided to spurn ESPN to join up with Kenny, Chuck, and EJ to make for what will most likely be the most entertaining studio show in sports TV history.

Lost in the shuffle of Shaq's move to TNT though, was the response from ESPN.  Losing out on one of the most coveted retired players in NBA history had to hurt ESPN's vision for improving their NBA studio coverage.  The studio crew of MIke Wilbon, Jon Barry, Stu Scott, and intermittent doses of Magic Johnson was some combination of bland, forced, and uninspiring.

Well, with the lockout over, we finally have learned what tweaks ESPN is making to their NBA studio crew, and the result looks like a recipe for disaster.

According to SI's Richard Deitsch, ESPN is moving their NBA studio crew to Los Angeles to double down on, gulp, Magic Johnson...

Not only is ESPN investing more time in one of the most overvalued studio analysts, they're shunning the use of a conventional studio host, swapping Stu Scott for Chriss Broussard?!?  The move does give Broussard a bigger platform for some of his more infamous "reporting."  At least we can all rejoice that it's Broussard instead of Screamin' A.  Still, this fearsome foursome has the makings for trainwreck television on a weekly basis.

Perhaps ESPN has been wowed by their NFL show Audibles, where NFL analysts are able to have a free-flowing discussion about topics without the need for a traditional point man.  But, ESPN's missing the fact that Inside the NBA's MVP isn't Charles Barkley, it's Ernie Johnson.  EJ is the glue that makes Inside the NBA what it is because he allows guys like Kenny, Chuck, and C-Web to be the stars of the show.

Who will fill that role on the new ESPN studio crew?  Mike Wilbon might be practiced at forced debate, but can he really play point guard with the likes of Jon Barry and Magic Johnson?  Has Magic Johnson said anything interesting or relevant that wasn't about the Lakers?  WIll Chris Broussard have any news or insight to break that isn't about LeBron? (Don't forget he was handpicked by Camp LeBron to break his move to the Heat before the Decision.)  And God forbid this becomes another cavalcade of celebrity catastrophes by moving to L.A. like those awful MNF celebrity interviews.

You know what... on second thought, maybe this will be must-see TV.... as the worst pregame show in the history of sports.  Someone get Shannon Sharpe on the phone quick, because these guys are going to have to practice hard on their forced laughter and hijinx.

Like Awful Announcing on Facebook Follow Awful Announcing on Twitter
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Steel workers on Kings arena wrote ‘Go Warriors’ on materials

Report: Cavs could put Love on trading block within next year

Red Sox GM: 'Time to think about' team being sellers

Cardinals fire scouting director in hacking scandal fallout

Report: Lakers to get second meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge


Antonio Gates suspended four games for violating drug policy

Tim Duncan officially returning to Spurs for another season

Rolando McClain suspended four games for substance abuse

Jets' Richardson suspended four games for violating drug policy

Report: Aldridge not impressed with Lakers' branding pitch

Toronto column after trade details Kessel's love of hot dogs

Report: Mavericks Sign Wes Matthews to Four-Year Contract

Dwyane Wade celebrates contract with tea, painted toenails

Coach K at fan town hall: 'I have no thoughts on retiring'

Carroll doesn’t just bring skill to Toronto; he brings relevance

Carroll doesn’t just bring skill to Toronto; he brings relevance

Lakers and Knicks: Piece by piece with no shortcuts

Bubba Watson to paint over Confederate flag on General Lee

Brewery offers Aldridge free beer for life if he stays a Blazer

P. Diddy avoids felony charges in incident at UCLA

Day 1 of Greenbrier Classic nets golf fans $192,400

Mike Scioscia took down Mike Trout’s Nerf basketball hoop

What the Greg Monroe signing means for the Bucks

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.