Ernie Johnson give thanks for 'overwhelming' support in return to TNT set following death of his son Michael

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Ernie Johnson pictured during a special live NBA On TNT Telecast at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 11, 2018. Credit: Damairs Carter/MediaPunch/IPX
Ernie Johnson, seen here in 2018, was back in the studio on Tuesday. (Damairs Carter/MediaPunch/IPX)

Ten days after the death of his son and a week after his studio mates paid tribute in his absence, Ernie Johnson returned to the "NBA on TNT" set on Tuesday. 

Johnson's son Michael Johnson died on Oct. 29 at 33 years old following a lifetime battle with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal shared their memories of Michael during last week's broadcast and welcomed Johnson back to the studio on Tuesday ahead of TNT's broadcast of a game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.

Johnson opened the broadcast thanking his Turner teammates and his audience for their support.

"It's been a rough 10 days or so," Johnson said. "I listened to what y'all said last week too. Kenny, you said it's time for me to lean on you, and my family did exactly that — leaning on Turner family, friends, or faith. Because we lost our son Michael on October 29.

"To all of you out there," Johnson continued, looking into the camera "let me just say thank you for all the texts, the phone calls, to all of you who used social media in the kindest and most compassionate way possible. It's just overwhelming for our family. So thank you so much for that."

Johnson then quickly shifted gears to NBA coverage while declaring "it'll be good to get back in here, spend the nights talking hoops with you guys."

And that's exactly what they did, diving into discussions on Ben Simmons and the story of the day in the NBA — the simmering beef between the Morris twins and the Jokic brothers.

Less that two weeks after a family tragedy, Johnson looked right at home in his longtime chair running the show and sparring with his longtime studio mates.

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