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Dereck Lively thinks losing ‘Inside the NBA’ hurts the league

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Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II recently shared his thoughts regarding the possible departure of Inside the NBA. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Dereck Lively thinks losing ‘Inside the NBA’ hurts the league

By now, you’re probably aware that TNT’s “Inside the NBA” may not exist beyond the 2024-25 season, the last one of this current TV deal.

It’s a show that’s not for everyone, but it had a clear cultural impact on today’s youth when digesting basketball. Every Tuesday and Thursday nights, you get to hear Shaquille O’Neal, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith–in addition to occasional appearances from players, such as Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker and Draymond Green–banter about everything basketball, funny, serious or otherwise.

Dallas Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II recently spoke to the New York Times regarding the cultural impact the show had–specifically with the former four on the show.

“All those four guys, everybody has a lot of respect for those four guys,” Lively said, according to Tania Ganguili of the New York Times. “Whenever they talk, people listen … To lose that connection, it’s going to hurt the league.”

If you’re always looking for basketball analysis where they’re breaking down every aspect of the court, Inside the NBA wasn’t for you. But in a TV setting for a 30-minute show at least once per week, they did as good of a job as anyone at entertaining.

That was their job: To entertain you about the NBA. Nothing more, nothing less. They were more serious with their discourse than others, but their sole purpose was to make you laugh about basketball–whether it was Chuck’s “Who He Play For?” or Shaq’s “Shaqtin’ a Fool.”

For some, that was the only real analysis people wanted–not the ongoing, dry big market chitchat surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, etc. I am not a walking Nielsen rating encyclopedia, but if there’s no longer an Inside the NBA in any capacity post-2024-25, then Lively’s right.

It drew ratings, it drew fans and, most importantly, it gave someone, somewhere, something to laugh about within the otherwise awful world we live in.

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