Why ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon are on TNT’s Inside the NBA broadcast

The NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament arrives in Las Vegas on Thursday, and the stars will be out. 

The tournament is an early-season crossover event for some of the best teams in the East and the West, giving established stars and emerging talents a chance to showcase themselves on the national stage.

The Pacers, for example, were scheduled for just one nationally televised game this season, but by advancing to the Quarterfinals and now the Semifinals, Tyrese Haliburton has been able to introduce himself to a new set of fans.

The In-Season Tournament Semifinals will also be a crossover event for some of the biggest names in NBA media. Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon will join the “Inside the NBA” crew for an all-encompassing breakdown of the games, and that won’t be the only union between ESPN and TNT.

Here’s a look at why Smith and Wilbon are joining forces with TNT’s “Inside the NBA” panel for In-Season Tournament coverage in Las Vegas.

MORE: Watch the NBA In-Season Tournament with Sling TV

Why are Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon on ‘Inside the NBA?’

One In-Season Tournament Semifinals game will be broadcast on ESPN, while the other will be broadcast on TNT. Thanks to a partnership between the two networks, those won’t be entirely separate productions.

“NBA Tip-Off” will begin on TNT between Semifinals games, featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith alongside ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” hosts. Both will be on the scene in Las Vegas, where the Semifinals and Championship are being played.

Then, Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon will join Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith for TNT’s “Inside the NBA” postgame show.

The crossover also includes the broadcasts of the actual games themselves. TNT’s broadcast of the Western Conference Semifinals will be called by Kevin Harlan and Candace Parker alongside ESPN’s Doc Rivers. ESPN’s broadcast of the Eastern Conference Semifinals will be called by Mike Breen and Doris Burke, with TNT’s Reggie Miller also joining the crew.

The NBA has envisioned Las Vegas as the place where the NBA world can converge for the decisive three games of the In-Season Tournament. With no other games scheduled for either day and many of the biggest names in NBA media joining forces, the league is turning that vision into reality. 

MORE: Breaking down the Stephen A. Smith-Terrell Owens feud

How to watch NBA In-Season Tournament

  • TV channels: ESPN | TNT | ABC
  • Live streams: Fubo | Sling TV

The remainder of the NBA In-Season Tournament games will be broadcast on ESPN, TNT and ABC.

You can also watch games on ESPN and ABC with Fubo, which is offering a free seven-day trial. Another streaming option is Sling TV, which offers ESPN and TNT.

Fans in the U.S. can watch the biggest games of the 2023-24 NBA season on Sling TV, which is now offering HALF OFF your first month! Sling base packages (Sling Orange or Sling Blue) start at just $20 for your first month, or you can get Sling Orange + Blue starting at $27.50 for your first month.

There are no long-term contracts with Sling TV, and you can change your channel lineup anytime. DVR is included along with thousands of on-demand shows and movies.

NBA In-Season Tournament schedule


(Played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas)

Date Matchup Time (ET) TV channel
Dec. 7 Pacers vs. Bucks 5 p.m. ESPN
Dec. 7 Pelicans vs. Lakers 9 p.m. TNT


(Played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas)

Date Matchup Time (ET) TV channel
Dec. 9 TBD 8:30 p.m. ABC


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