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Ernie Johnson Jr.
Johnson in 2019
Ernest Thorwald Johnson Jr.[1]

(1956-08-07) August 7, 1956 (age 67)
EducationUniversity of Georgia (BA)
OccupationOn-air personality / sportscaster-TNT Sports
Years active1977–present
Cheryl Johnson
(m. 1982)

Ernest Thorwald Johnson Jr. (born August 7,[2] 1956) is an American sportscaster for TNT Sports. He is the television voice and a studio host for Major League Baseball on TBS, hosts Inside the NBA for TNT and NBA TV, and contributes to the joint coverage of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament for TNT Sports and CBS Sports. His father was Ernie Johnson Sr., a Major League Baseball pitcher and Atlanta Braves play-by-play announcer.[3]

Early life

Johnson was born in 1956 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father, Ernie Johnson Sr., was a Major League Baseball player who later became a television sports commentator. Johnson's family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, after his father retired from professional baseball in 1964, when Ernie was eight years old.

Johnson attended high school at the Marist School, a private Catholic school in Brookhaven, Georgia, and graduated in 1974. He then went to the University of Georgia and majored in journalism.[4] Johnson played first base on the Bulldogs baseball team his freshman year.[5] He graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude.[4][5]


During college, Johnson got his first sportscasting job as the news and sports director for the radio station WAGQ-FM in Athens, Georgia.[3]

In 1979, Johnson was hired as a news anchor at WMAZ-TV in Macon, Georgia. He worked there until 1981, when he was hired as a news reporter at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Johnson worked in Atlanta at WSB-TV as a general assignment news reporter in 1982. He became the station's weekend sports anchor and reporter in 1983. He held those jobs until 1989, when he left to join Turner Sports.[3]

From 1993 to 1996, Johnson called Atlanta Braves baseball games for SportSouth (now Bally Sports South) with his father.[3]

TNT Sports


Main article: NBA on TNT

Johnson (left) with longtime broadcasting partners Kenny Smith (center) and Charles Barkley, 2011

Known as "E.J.", Johnson works as the studio host for TNT's coverage of the NBA, including pregame and halftime shows, and the network's famous postgame studio show that airs after each NBA doubleheader, Inside the NBA. He has hosted the show since 1990.[6][7]

At the end of each broadcast, Ernie presents "E.J.'s Neat-O Stat of the Night", which has become a popular part of the show but is sponsored by no one, hence the sign that says "Your logo here". This changed in 2007 when vitaminwater sponsored the segment, replaced by Panasonic's Viera line of televisions in 2008. For the 2005–06 season, his segments were sponsored by Intel Centrino and Suzuki. In the 2008 NBA Playoffs, his segments were presented by Geico and vitaminwater.

For all NBA-related shows, Johnson is joined by former NBA stars Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, and occasionally Chris Webber, Grant Hill, or Reggie Miller. In the 2012–13 season he was joined by Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and Dennis Scott while Smith and Barkley covered March Madness on CBS.

Johnson also hosts Tuesday Fan Night on sister station NBA TV, alongside Webber and Greg Anthony. He also hosts and moderates NBA TV's Open Court, a basketball-panel show featuring Johnson and a rotation of six panelists (all of whom are TNT NBA analysts) discussing various topics, ranging from the history of the NBA to the current state of the league.

In October 2022, Johnson signed a long-term contract extension with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports to continue as a host on Inside the NBA.[8]

Non-NBA assignments

Johnson (right) in the broadcast booth with Cal Ripken Jr. during the 2012 American League Division Series

In addition to working basketball, Johnson is also the play-by-play announcer for TNT's PGA Tour coverage. At TBS, he worked as the studio host for its coverage of college football. In 2002, Johnson was co-winner of the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Host, tying with Bob Costas of NBC and HBO. It was the first time he had been nominated for a Sports Emmy. In 2006, Johnson won the award again, this time on his own, snapping Costas's six-year streak, including the year the two shared the honor. From 2007 to 2009, Johnson worked as the studio host alongside Cal Ripken Jr. for TBS's coverage of Major League Baseball. In 2010, he moved into a play-by-play role for the network, serving as the lead broadcaster for TBS's playoff coverage, including the 2010 ALCS. He also broadcast 40 Atlanta Braves games on sister channel Peachtree TV. In 2020, Johnson again became a studio host for the network's pregame and postgame show while continuing his play-by-play role for TBS's coverage of Major League Baseball.

Johnson's past work at TNT included roles as studio host for The Championships, Wimbledon, from 2000 to 2002, studio host for its National Football League coverage from 1990 to 1997, and various duties at the 1994, 1998, and 2001 Goodwill Games, as well as the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, and the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. He was the studio host for TNT's coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He co-hosted Barkley's now-defunct talk show, Listen Up! Past work at TBS includes working as studio host for its NBA coverage. Johnson also called weightlifting for NBC's coverage of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. He serves as a studio host for the NCAA tournament for CBS and Turner Sports, alternating with Greg Gumbel.

In 2015, Johnson won his third Sports Emmy for Best Studio Host, and gave his award to the daughters of the late Stuart Scott, who died in January 2015.[9]

Johnson is also a sportscaster on NBA Live 98, and the NBA 2K franchise since 2014.[10]

Career timeline

Personal life

This section of a biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately from the article and its talk page, especially if potentially libelous.Find sources: "Ernie Johnson Jr." – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (October 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Johnson and his wife, Cheryl, a licensed professional counselor, live in Braselton, Georgia. They have two biological children and four adopted children.[11]

Raised Catholic,[12] Johnson now identifies as Protestant and works on a regular basis with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Athletes in Action (AIA), and Samaritan's Feet.

Johnson is a devoted Atlanta Braves fan. Though he was born in Milwaukee, his family moved to the Atlanta area when he was nine, and he considers it his hometown. He attended high school at the Marist School in Brookhaven, Georgia.

On the November 10, 2016, edition of Inside the NBA, Johnson and co-hosts were discussing the 2016 U.S. presidential election and Donald Trump's upset over Hillary Clinton. While giving his remarks, Johnson talked about the build-up to Election Day, and how he would lean on his Christian faith and pray for the transition of power and for the division in the country. He also revealed that he wrote in his vote for Ohio governor John Kasich, who was one of the 17 Republican candidates and the last to suspend his campaign.

In April 2017, he released his memoir, Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary.[1]


In 2003, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but continued his work through June 2006, when he began treatment. Due to his cancer, he missed TNT's coverage of the British Open and PGA Championship, the last two major golf tournaments of 2006. Johnson returned to Inside the NBA on October 31, 2006, while continuing chemotherapy.

On October 1, 2018, Johnson announced that he would not be a part of the 2018 MLB postseason on TBS after being diagnosed with blood clots in both of his legs, which affects his ability to travel by air.[13]

Awards and honors


  1. ^ a b Johnson, Ernie Jr. (2017). Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary. foreword by John Smoltz. Baker Books. ISBN 978-0-8010-7410-3.
  2. ^ Ernie Johnson, Jr [@turnersportsej] (August 7, 2018). "Thanks Turner family— it's the only place I've ever wanted to work—29 years and counting" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b c d "Ernie Johnson Biography". CNN Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on February 21, 2004 – via Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b Rangus, Eric. "Ernie Johnson Jr.: Writing the script". UGA Today. University of Georgia. Retrieved December 1, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "ERNIE JOHNSON, JR. - HARTMAN AWARD RECIPIENT". February 24, 2016.
  6. ^ "Ernie Johnson Jr".
  7. ^ Williams, Madison (June 29, 2023). "Charles Barkley Heartwarmingly Surprised Ernie Johnson With Broadcasting Hall of Fame News". Sports Illustrated. Johnson has worked with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports for 34 years, he said, and has worked in broadcasting for over four decades. He's hosted Inside the NBA on TNT since 1990.
  8. ^ Chavkin, Daniel. "TNT Announces 'Inside the NBA' Crew's Future Amid Charles Barkley Contract". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  9. ^ "Ernie Johnson of TNT gives Sports Emmy Award to Stuart Scott's daughters". May 6, 2015.
  10. ^ "Ernie Johnson". IMDb. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  11. ^ Sanchez, Mark W. (October 30, 2021). "Michael Johnson, son of Turner Sports broadcaster Ernie Johnson, dead at 33".
  12. ^ Romano, Jason (April 5, 2017). "TNT Host Ernie Johnson – "Trust God ... Period"".
  13. ^ Yomtov, Jesse (October 1, 2018). "Announcer Ernie Johnson will skip MLB playoffs due to blood clots". USA Today. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  14. ^ Brown, Kirkpatrick, MacMullen, and Scott voted into NSMA HOF – NSMA
  15. ^ "Ernie Johnson Jr. inducted as 2019 IWU World Changer".
  16. ^ "Watch: Charles Barkley surprises Ernie Johnson with news of Hall of Fame induction". USA TODAY. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
Preceded byChip Caray Lead play-by-play announcer, Major League Baseball on TBS 201020122016 Succeeded byBrian Anderson