“Didn’t Even Make the Playoffs”: NBA Fans Go Berserk After LeBron James Reacts to Charles Barkley vs Kenny Smith Race

Published 05/11/2022, 1:30 PM EDT
Feb 20, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Team LeBron forward LeBron James greets Michael Jordan at halftime during the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James reacted to the hilarious race between Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on the set of NBA on TNT at Studio J in Atlanta, and NBA fans couldn’t let it slide without chiming in.

NBA Twitter is usually known for its banter and memes during the games. The playoffs provide the perfect occasion for such humorous expressions, especially when players and pundits join the party.


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LeBron reacts to the hilarious race

LeBron James tweeted about Chuck and Kenny’s hilarious race on Tuesday night’s broadcast on TNT. The two took off from the desk and raced to the big screen.

Charles Barkley bagged the win according to LeBron. On the other hand, Smith thought he had won pretty comfortably.


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However, the race was too close to call. A thorough frame-by-frame analysis looked like a tie between the two.

Ernie Johnson aptly described it as a “photo-finish“. However, it was drowned by Shaq yelling, “Oh no, Chuck won! Chuck won! Yes, he did! Yes, he did!

Fans were quick to react, with some pointing out the Lakers’ deplorable performance this season.

With a roster comprising five hall-of-famers and two MVPs, the Lakers started the season as favorites to win the West. However, their season came to a very disappointing end when they failed to qualify for the play-in tournament.

Mar 16, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) looks on against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

NBA pundits and fans have been very critical of LeBron and co. for failing to make the playoffs with such a star-studded roster. Even though LeBron himself averaged over 30 points per game throughout the season at 37, and was in contention for the scoring title.

However, the critics and the fans will probably keep reminding LeBron about his early exit from the competition till he does something extraordinary next year.

Kenny Smith vs the NBA on TNT crew

The race between Kenny Smith and other Inside the NBA crew members has become a little bit of a fun custom. Previously, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley would take turns trying to beat Kenny to the big screen.

But nowadays, it has been open to the entire crew. Recently, a group of 5-6 members of the NBA on TNT crew raced Kenny, which included writers, producers, cameramen, and other members of staff.


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The former Rockets guard usually prevails over Shaq and Chuck. But he had no chance against young writers and producers of the crew who certainly didn’t take it easy on the veteran pundit.

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The race provides a great source of laughter and enjoyment in the show and a sort of comic relief amidst serious basketball talk. It adds to the amazing banter of the crew which is pretty much unrivalled in NBA television.


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Smith has to endure the brunt of the race every time, in victory and defeat, as he is often seen panting while breaking down the plays on the big screen.




Satagni Sikder

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Satagni Sikder is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He has a Master's degree in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and has been following the NBA since 2017. Moreover, he supports the Dallas Mavericks, and unsurprisingly, Luka Doncic is his favorite player.