Kenny Smith Walks Out on TNT Broadcast in Solidarity For Jacob Blake, But Also Tired of Sitting Next to Charles Barkley All Day

Kenny “The Jet” Smith jetted on Inside the NBA in solidarity with boycotting players on Aug. 26. The two-time NBA Championship winner was visibly shaken and spoke with passion. Like the players, he couldn’t stand by and do nothing after police shot Jacob Blake seven times on Aug. 23. Getting away from his co-commentator Charles Barkley was probably just a fringe benefit.

Smith hails from Queens and was never afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. It was true even when he didn’t have sleeves while balling in college and the NBA. It was still true during his briefly lived reality TV show, which also featured his stunning wife Gwendolyn Osborne.

At the same time, Smith is way chiller than Barkley, who famously once threw a guy through a window during a bar fight. Smith’s normally cool as ice demeanor makes his emotional plea all the more powerful.


“Right now, my head is ready to explode,” Smith began the statement he made before slowly removing his mic. “And for me, I think the biggest thing now as a black man, as a former player, I think it’s best for me to support the players and just not be here tonight.”

Smith then stood, turned and exited the set. Ernie Johnson, the show’s host, expressed his respect for Smith as he left. As for Charles Barkley, well, you can see for yourself, he just sipped his coffee super awkwardly. Like honestly though, how is that not a meme already?

Cover Photo: Kevin Mazur (Getty Images)

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