A few weeks ago, I wrote about a feature that ESPN did on its ESPN:60 program that was quite a rarity, in that it was about a sportscaster on another network, TNT's Ernie Johnson. It initially aired just before Johnson won an Emmy for best studio host, and then promptly gave the award to the daughters of the late Stuart Scott, who recently passed away from cancer, and who Johnson said had been such a support and inspiration to him.
(You can see that wonderful, moving moment here.)
The feature on Johnson was...well, "spectacular," and saying that doesn't do it justice. The best I can come up with to explain it properly is to quote how Mark Perner of the Philadelphia Daily News began his column about the feature when it originally aired.
"Up until Tuesday morning, I had looked at Ernie Johnson as the geeky guy on TNT who did an absolutely terrific job keeping Charles, Kenny and Shaq under control.
"In a span of less than 24 hours, my respect for Johnson reached a level that I cannot comprehend."
I think that's pretty close -- My respect for Ernie Johnson reached a level that I cannot comprehend.
It's worth adding that, though Ernie is the famous name and face, his wife Cheryl comes across as pretty darn special and heroic, too.
I said at the time that the video wasn't available online, but I'd keep looking, and was sure it would be posted by ESPN eventually. And said that I'd post it here as soon as it was there. It's now there. And here it is.
If you don't like basketball, if you don't like sports, if you don't have 23 minutes to spare -- watch this video anyway. Find the time. I only use the phrase, "Trust me," on rare occasions. I take words seriously, and when I say "Trust me," I mean it, not as a tossed off phrase,. I take trust seriously. Trust me. Find the 23 minutes and watch this video.
There might be a brief commercial that precedes it. Then, be prepared for your respect of Ernie Johnson, and Cheryl Johnson, to reach a level that you can't comprehend.
You might find yourself watching TNT's in-studio basketball programs, just because you like Ernie Johnson that much. Even if you don't like basketball. It is now near-impossible to not like Ernie.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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