NBA 2K16 will bring back the in-game studio show that debuted last year, and this time around, the duo of Ernie Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal will be joined by fellow NBA on TNT analyst Kenny Smith, publisher 2K Sports announced today.
Smith has worked at Turner Sports on NBA on TNT programming, particularly the postgame show Inside the NBA, for more than 15 years. Prior to that, he played in the NBA as a point guard for 11 seasons.
NBA 2K16's studio show will feature all three NBA on TNT personalities, and will now offer analysis during halftime and after the game. Last year's incarnation in NBA 2K15 appeared only before games, and just included O'Neal and Johnson. A new NBA 2K16 trailer from 2K Sports, which you can watch above, shows off other new elements of the show, like the crew broadcasting from inside NBA arenas. It shows off the camaraderie and banter between the three individuals, as well as "Shaqknowlogies" from O'Neal.
Aside from the studio show, NBA 2K16's in-game commentary team is also changing. A representative for 2K Sports confirmed to Polygon that Greg Anthony will replace Steve Kerr in the broadcast booth this year. Kerr had been an in-game analyst for the series since NBA 2K12 alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan and color commentator Clark Kellogg. Kerr, a retired NBA player himself, had also worked for the NBA on TNT, but left in May 2014 to become the head coach of the Golden State Warriors. This past season, his first, he led the team to an NBA championship.
Kerr's departure left 2K Sports in a tough position — by then, it was too late to replace him for last year's game. The company would've likely begun recording with Anthony last year for a debut in NBA 2K16. But he presented 2K with another conundrum when he was arrested in January in Washington, D.C., on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.
Anthony, who played 11 seasons in the NBA, was suspended indefinitely after his arrest by CBS Sports, where he had worked as a college basketball analyst since 2008. Anthony struck a plea deal involving community service, and all charges have since been dropped. He returned to broadcasting in July as an analyst for Turner Sports, working an NBA Summer League game on NBA TV.
NBA 2K16 launches Sept. 29 on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and will be available four days early to pre-order customers.
Correction: NBA 2K's lead play-by-play announcer is Kevin Harlan, not Kenny Harlan. We've edited the article to reflect this.