#NBARestart: The games are back and fans have one thing on their minds, 'the size of THAT TNT desk'
An oversized desk to accommodate social distancing between Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley is now part of NBA fan chatter
The NBA season has restarted for 2019-2020 on July 30 after it went on hiatus on March 11 due to the threat of coronavirus pandemic and the season has started with full preparation to maintain social distancing. To kick off the official NBA Bubble restart, TNT’s pregame show, 'Inside The NBA', had a new broadcast ahead of Pelicans-Jazz. The new-look Studio J stuck out with an oversized desk to accommodate social distancing between Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley.
Viewers were amused by the desk's extended size. A photo soon surfaced on the Internet showing the desk which is an elongated one as compared to the previous desk.
“NBA on TNT desk could be setting world records for size good lord. #NBARestartonTNT” tweeted a user with a picture of four commentators sitting pretty well apart at the TNT desk.
Another mused how the current pandemic may have been the culprit behind this elaborate setup.
It’s for social distancing lolll— Dano🦴 (@Danojf) July 30, 2020
Sportsperson Timothy Burke also tweeted about the huge size of desk and even made good-natured fun of Shaq, who also roasted by Johnson and Barkley for being late to the pre-game panel.
Did they build a new social-distance-compliant Inside desk? (Shaq is apparently stuck in traffic) pic.twitter.com/NOlCAj8AgR— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) July 30, 2020
As per the official NBA website, the NBA’s board of governors on June 4, approved a competitive format for the comeback of 2019-2020 season with 22 teams returning to play and kick off with the matches on July 30. The website further mentions that the NBA and National Basketball Players Association had charted a plan for the restarting which “includes stringent health and safety protocols, a single-site campus at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the goal of taking collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice.”
The TNT Desk is a move in this direction to avoid any possibility of the spread of the virus. Apart from this, other steps are being taken like each of the three courts used for games will be sanitized between games.
But the serious step of having a huge desk has also become the butt of jokes on the Internet:
They got this extra long desk on NBA on Tnt...looks so funny lol— Sir Deon Fuller (@BoX_OfHOLES) July 29, 2020
“The one on the right has a different zip code !” tweeted a user joking how the commentators were seated so far apart.
Another user tweeted:
*NBA on TNT crew calls up IKEA*— Mark Harris (@itismarkharris) July 30, 2020
‘Lemme get yalls biggest desk. Actually, lemme get 2 and we’ll push them thangs together.’
This desk is a UNIT. pic.twitter.com/iBQeK4tCw4
The current broadcasts of the award-winning NBA coverage on TNT is helping the NBA ramp up the resumption of play, addressing what’s going on around the league, the Black Lives Matter social justice movement and whatever is going on currently during the season.
The presence of the desk has created quite an impact with viewers even deeming at as an unforgettable memory.
when i look back on my years in quarantine, let me not forget that there was one bright spot: TNT's Inside the NBA had to get a big ass desk so Ernie, Charles, Kenny, and Shaq could socially distance while on television. https://t.co/aH4ZuaBErM— tryler (@tylerlauletta) July 30, 2020
Some found the positioning of the giant desk as ridiculous. "There is plexiglas separating the hosts at the NBA on TNT desk LOL so ridiculous"
There is plexiglas separating the hosts at the NBA on TNT desk LOL so ridiculous. That’s going to prevent absolutely nothing, especially since you know they are not “socially distancing” when the show is over. They are hanging out with each other and yucking it up.— 🗣🤬 (@MCharlesJ2020) July 30, 2020
The NBA restart season is taking place inside ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.