Why isn’t the NBA on TNT on Thursday? Double-header won’t compete with NFL Thursday Night Football

Are you sitting at home on Thursday night, anticipating to watch an NBA game on TNT with the award-winning crew of Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson, only to find something other than basketball on that channel?

You’re not alone.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 27, the NBA has trimmed its TNT doubleheader broadcast to Tuesday nights only for the time being. Here’s why.

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Why isn’t the NBA on TNT on Thursday night?

According to NBA Insider Marc Stein, the NBA has made the decision not to air its Thursday night doubleheader on TNT to avoid going up against the NFL’s Thursday Night Football broadcast.

“The NBA will not air its usual Thursday night programming on TNT again until January after Mavericks-at-Hawks last Thursday followed by Clippers-at-Warriors,” Stein reported on Twitter and via his Substack.

“Rather than go head-to-head with Thursday night NFL games, NBA on TNT entered this season having shifted Ernie, Shaq, Kenny and Charles and the weekly doubleheader they present to Tuesday nights for the rest of 2021 for the first time.”

The decision doesn’t come as a major shock given the rising ratings of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football broadcast, however it will likely leave basketball fans feeling empty on weeks when there are matchups like the Indianapolis Colts versus the New York Jets.

When will NBA on TNT return to Thursday night broadcasts?

As Stein mentioned, NBA on TNT will not return to Thursday night broadcasts until after the new year. Here is the tentative schedule for NBA on TNT in 2022.

Along with the games, TNT is also the official national broadcaster for the festivities at the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend. The mid-season bonanza will be played on Sunday, Feb. 20, at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This year’s All-Star weekend will celebrate the NBA’s 75th anniversary season and feature members of the NBA’s 75th anniversary team.

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The network will also telecast the most playoff games from the 2022 postseason, culminating with the 2022 Western Conference Finals. 

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