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The Crew of Inside the NBA Breaks Down “Good Will Hunting”

The guys break down Boston's finest.

By Noah Cohen-Greenberg and Sam Mermin

Ernie: Ernie Johnson here with Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and Charles Barkley. Fellas, we just watched a few hours of thrilling action in Boston. Any first impressions of Will Hunting and the rest of the gang?

Shaq: First impressions? I feel like I’ve seen enough from him three times over. Every day he’s messing around at practice, barely looking at the chalkboard, big attitude. Professor Lambeau can’t control his player.

Charles: I agree. 

Ernie: Let’s not pretend they never had any success, especially considering —

Shaq: I’m going to stop you right there. You’re distracted by all the bells and whistles. They told this kid he was the best in the world before he proved anything.

Kenny: Well — 

Charles: You get excited and sign away the franchise to a kid based on one big performance?

Shaq: Exactly.

Kenny: He didn’t pan out. At least not in Boston. But I don’t think you can go back retroactively and say he wasn’t worth the investment in the first place when the talent was so obvious.

Shaq: They should have at least gotten rid of him earlier. You have to trade him before he walks. 

Ernie: You’re saying they could have gotten something back for him before he left for California?

Kenny: I mean, it’s easy to say that now.

Charles: His good friend, uh, what’s it called, pleasured himself with the baseball glove.

Ernie: I’ll take this opportunity to remind everyone that this is a G-Rated show.

Shaq: It was his friend Chuckie’s glove. That’s what people don’t remember.

Ernie: I will once again remind everyone that this is a G-Rated show.

Kenny: What I don’t understand is: are we really ready to put all the blame on a young kid? Shouldn’t the responsibility be on his coach to keep him interested in the game?

Charles: I think everyone around him was a disaster. The therapist in his ear all the time? Whispering sweet nothings?

Ernie: Certainly, Sean Maguire is a controversial figure.

Shaq: What’s the controversy, Ernie?

Ernie: I see where you’re going.

Shaq: Ernie.

Charles: Ernie.

Shaq: Ernie, there’s no “controversy.” This Sean guy had the worst impact I’ve ever seen. You can write that down. This obsession with mental health . . . we didn’t have that when I was in the league. If I’m down in the dumps before a playoff game? I say let’s go put our opponent down in the dumps too. I’m talking about domination.

Kenny: I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Shaq: “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.” It is your fault!

Charles: Next thing we know the kid’s driving away, tail between his legs, chasing some girl.

Kenny: What we’re actually talking about here is priorities.

Shaq: Here’s what I’m actually talking about: keep your ass at the chalkboard. I don’t care about the girl.

Charles: Now, she’s gotta be at least six-foot. Are we sure she doesn’t have something to bring to the table?

Ernie: The fact is, Will is part of a younger generation of athletes who try to live balanced lives. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Charles: It’s a good thing for the guys playing against him. The guys who actually know how to win. 

Shaq: The guys Charles wouldn’t know anything about.

Charles: Oh, please.

Shaq: You know the one performance I liked? The fight after the little league game. Will wanted to win then. Wanted it enough to go to jail.

Ernie: We do not condone the use of violence.

Charles: I loved the little league game. The whole game.

Shaq: The little league kids were out there playing hard, not asking for any credit. There’s a game today? Great, I’ll be there. I’ll suit up for my team. What do you need me to do, coach?

Ernie: In Will’s defense, he had a much more complicated life than those little leaguers.

Shaq: Spare me the excuses.

Charles: Are we sure they even have the right guy up there at the chalkboard? I mean, what about the friend?

Kenny: Huh?

Charles: What has Will shown us that, uh, the best friend hasn’t shown us? The tall one. Clucky? I thought he flashed some real potential.

Ernie: I don’t believe we saw Chuckie do math at any point.

Shaq: Chuckie stood up and fought. That’s what I saw.

Charles: Exactly.

Shaq: Here’s your fucking double burger.”

Kenny: We’re not gonna argue that Chuckie is better than Will at math.

Charles: I’m saying when it comes down to it, who do I want on my team? I want the guy with some fight in him. I want a guy I can rely on. Burger guy.

Kenny: You’re seriously saying this?

Charles: I’m not saying anything.

Ernie: I think it’s safe to say Charles is exaggerating a bit here. But it seems like we have some real doubts about how badly Will wants to succeed as a pro.

Shaq: There’s nothing exaggerated about it. We don’t trust the Will kid. At all. He gave up on math. And no disrespect, but he also gave up on being a janitor. He gave up. He put down his mop the second they offered him a way out.

Charles: Hell, I’d rather team up with the baseball glove guy.


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