TNT’s Ernie Johnson Talks NCAA Violations, Tiger’s Comeback And More

    TNT basketball commentator Ernie EJ Johnson has been one of our favorite interview subjects at the Shadow League over the years. 

    As the NCAA and NBA basketball seasons continue barreling towards to what we all hope are dramatic and exciting conclusions, we recently caught up with Johnson regarding his thoughts on the current sports climate, Tiger Woods’ unexpected comeback, and more. 

    On the reemergence of Tiger Woods:

    EJ:

    “I think, if were being honest with ourselves, he is good for the game. Tiger Woods is good for the game. Is he able to sustain it? Well see, but I think its good to see a guy that talented and who has transformed the sport the way he did, Id love to see him get back to where he can compete and be a factor on the weekends.” 

    Tiger Woods’ highlights | Round 4 | Valspar

    SUBSCRIBE to PGA TOUR now: http://pgat.us/vBxcZSh In the final of the 2018 Valspar Championship, Tiger Woods showed signs of the past with his incredible birdie putt on the 17th hole, but finished in a tie for second in the final round.

    On his love for video games:

    EJ:

    “The one video game that I will always play is WGT, World Golf Tour. Ill play that game almost to a fault.  I probably need to seek some therapy. So, there ya go. Ive disparaged myself and let you know I have an addiction to WGT, please help me.”

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    On the current NCAA allegations regarding pay for play:

    EJ:

    They are allegations. I would hope that if Im a coach and allegations come out against me, I hope nobody says Welp, must be right! Hes guilty.  You want to hear from everybody involved, and its unfair that everybody is in such a hurry, everybody wants to be first, everybody wants to say Its my story. Look, if a story is reported and it turns out to be solid reporting, then that’s the case, but until that time everybody pump their brakes a little bit.

    You dont have to just look at this case, everybody is in such a hurry to hear a story, pass judgment, then move on to see who else to turn on. No, look there are allegations right now and I hope the committee with Grant Hill and Condeleeza Rice does their due diligence, and I hope the NCAA does. I think the institutions of the NCAA do theres and AAU basketball and shoe companies. I hope everybody looks in the mirror and says Can I do business better? Can we make this better?

    Lets throw the NBA in there too.  They need to look at What is our stance on these kids? Howre we going to make this thing work? If everybody is geared toward that goal, then I think everything will be okay. But, as far as the allegations go, I think thats just what they are allegations.”

    Steve Kerr on Arizona’s NCAA scandal: ‘I’m disappointed in my alma mater’ | ESPN

    Steve Kerr says that he is disappointed in his alma mater, University of Arizona, and thinks the NCAA definitely needs to adopt a new model.

    His solution?

    EJ:

    Is it two or is it zero, how do we know? Weve tried everything. Weve tried its okay to jump right from high school to the NBA, weve tried one-and-done, my thing has always been airing on the side of maturity and growing up. Ive never had a problem with thinking that going to college is a good thing. You grow up physically, you grow up emotionally, you can grow as a basketball player. If thats not going to work and its just going to drive people to say, Well, youve just gotta stay in school for two years and I got you covered financially.  But thats currently against the rules.

    Its a mess. Youre either going to have to allow the kids to have agents, or stockpile money that they can have after two years, whatever the situation is all that stuff has to be investigated to see whats going to be the best thing.  I dont know if establishing a two-year minimum, or no years at all, is gonna be the answer. If youre going to pay players and say the limit is this, somebody is gonna wanna exceed that. Thats where the problem lies. If there was an easy answer, then we would have it.