When former Houston Rockets guard Kenny Smith walked off the set of Inside the NBA, it took the crew by surprise, including his co-host, Charles Barkley.
On August 26th, the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to sit out of their playoff game set off a chain reaction spread throughout the league and the country. Further NBA games were postponed, and other sports began to follow suit. In a seemingly abrupt moment of solidarity, former Houston Rockets guard Kenny Smith decided to make his own statement on live television.
The protests by several major sports shifted the focus of the country to the Jacob Blake case, which was the idea behind the actions in the first place.
As it became clear no games were going to be played that day, Inside the NBA turned their attention from the hardwood to the real-life issues facing the nation. At the top of the show, Kenny Smith spoke from the heart, before eventually walking off the set to stand with his fellow NBA players.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 26, 2020
“As a black man and former player, I think it’s best for me to support the players and just not be here tonight,” said Smith. It was a powerful moment, but one that didn’t sit well with co-host Charles Barkley at first.
In a recent sitdown for Winging it with Vince Carter, Barkley revealed his immediate reaction. “I was pissed at Kenny,” said Charles. “He should’ve told us in advance.”
Barkley then elaborates on the fact that he just had knocked the Bucks for not telling the Orlando Magic their plans, which is what Smith essentially ended up doing by walking off the set of the show unannounced.
“I had no problem with him walking off,” continued Barkley. “He should’ve told us so we could’ve prepared. The show was like, ‘uh oh.’ “
As sudden as Smith’s decision was to the cast and crew of the show, it still went along smoothly, as you’d expect an Emmy-winning show to do.
In the end, Smith was able to make a statement without it affecting the show too much, even if it perturbed Barkley at first.
“I was pissed originally. I got nothing but love and respect for Kenny, but he should have warned us,” concluded Barkley.