Ernie Johnson Jr.

Ernie Johnson Jr.

Johnson at the Baltimore Orioles ALDS Game on October 7, 2012
Born Ernest Thorwald Johnson Jr.
(1956-08-07) August 7, 1956
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Residence Braselton, Georgia
Nationality American
Other names E.J., Mr. Smooth, Elevator Ernie
Education University of Georgia
Occupation On-Air Personality, Turner Sports
Title Sportscaster
Religion Christian
Spouse(s) Cheryl Johnson
Children 6

Ernest Thorwald "Ernie" Johnson Jr. (born August 7, 1956) is a sportscaster for Turner Sports and CBS Sports. Johnson is currently the lead television voice for Major League Baseball on TBS, hosts Inside the NBA for TNT, and contributes to the joint coverage of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament for Turner and CBS. He is also a sportscaster on NBA 2K15, NBA 2K16, and NBA 2K17.

Early career

Johnson's career began in 1977 while he was still a student at the University of Georgia, when he took a job as the news and sports director for the radio station WAGQ-FM in Athens, Georgia. He held that job until 1978, when he graduated from Georgia with a B.A. in journalism, summa cum laude. In 1979, Johnson began his broadcasting career at WMAZ-TV in Macon, Georgia. He worked there as a news anchor until 1981, when he moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina to work as a news reporter at WSPA-TV. Johnson moved back to Georgia in 1982, this time taking a job in Atlanta at WSB-TV as a general assignment news reporter. 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.

From 1993 to 1996, Johnson called Atlanta Braves baseball games for SportSouth (now FSN South) with his father, Ernie Johnson Sr., a former Major League Baseball pitcher and Braves play-by-play announcer.[1]

Turner Sports

The NBA on TNT

Main article: NBA on TNT

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.[2]

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 May 2007 when vitaminwater stepped in as a sponsor for the segment, replaced by Panasonic's Viera line of televisions for 2008. For the 2005–2006 season, his segments were sponsored by Intel Centrino and most recently 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, on occasion, Chris Webber, Grant Hill, or Reggie Miller. In the 2012-2013 regular season he was joined by Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and Dennis Scott while Smith and Barkley covered March Madness on CBS.

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

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, Johnson worked as the studio host for their 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 Johnson had been nominated for a Sports Emmy. In 2006, Johnson won the award again, this time on his own, snapping Costas' six-year stranglehold on it, 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' playoff coverage, including the 2010 ALCS. He also broadcast 40 Atlanta Braves games on sister channel Peachtree TV.

He was the studio host for TNT's coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. 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 also co-hosted Barkley's now-defunct talk show, Listen Up! Past work at TBS also included working as studio host for their NBA coverage. Johnson also called weightlifting for NBC's coverage of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. He also 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.[3]

Personal life

Johnson and his wife, Cheryl, a licensed professional counselor, live in Braselton, Georgia and have two biological children (one son, named Eric, and one daughter, named Maggie) and four adopted children (a son Michael, adopted from Romania, daughter Carmen, adopted from Paraguay and daughters Ashley and Allison adopted domestically through foster care). A Christian since 1997, he works on a regular basis with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Athletes in Action (AIA) and Samaritan's Feet, a nonprofit organization which has a mission of putting 10 million pairs of shoes on 10 million kids' feet worldwide over the next ten years. Johnson is a devoted Atlanta Braves fan. He is an Atlanta native and attended high school at the private Marist School.


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, Johnson missed TNT's coverage of the British Open and PGA Championship, the last two golf major tournaments in 2006. Johnson returned to Inside the NBA on October 31, 2006, while continuing his chemotherapy treatments.


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