This election has been nothing if not brutal. But as the dust settles around the new President-elect Donald Trump, NBA announcer Ernie Johnson offered one of the most poignant and moving responses to the entire process, though he didn't vote for the billionaire businessman or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
"When this campaign season started, I felt like I had been dealt a bad hand," he said on TNT's "Inside the NBA" Thursday. "Had these couple of choices, and there were trust issues with Hillary Clinton I couldn't get past, and there was this inflammatory rhetoric from Donald Trump, which to me was incomprehensible and indefensible."
"I couldn't vote for either one," he admitted. "For the first time in going to the polls for 42 years, I hit the write-in button, and I voted for John Kasich. And I left knowing that John Kasich wasn't going to win, but I left with a clear conscience because I hadn't settled."
Ernie Johnson's thoughts on the presidential election. https://t.co/mONk8ZCcBY— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) November 11, 2016
Though he didn't support Trump, he said the president-elect's meeting with President Barack Obama Thursday left him feeling "hopeful" about what might come from his administration. "We have to give him a chance," Johnson said, adding that he is counting on Trump to be "all in" to fix the division that is plaguing the country.
Johnson also called on all Americans to play a part, to help the incoming president by being a source of optimism instead of giving into the pessimism that has defined this entire campaign season.
"For me to be a part of it, I have to look in the mirror and say, ‘How am I going to be a better man? How am I going to be a better neighbor?'" he reflected. "'How am I going to be a better citizen? How am I going to be a better American? How can I be a fountain and not a drain?'"
But then Johnson did something that is almost never done on national television — he shared his faith and reminded viewers of what, in his mind, really matters:
I never know from one election to the next who's going to be in the Oval Office. But I always know who's on the throne, and I'm on this earth because God created me. And that's who I answer to.
I'm a Christian. I follow this guy named Jesus, you might have heard of him. And the greatest commandment he gave me was to love others. And Scripture also tells us to pray for our leaders. That's what I'm going to do — I'm gonna pray for Donald Trump. I'm gonna pray for all those people right now who feel like they're on the outside looking in, who are afraid at this point. Pray for them too.
In short, I'm praying for America, and I'm praying that one day we're gonna look back and we're gonna say, 'You know what? That Donald Trump presidency — that was alright.' But I'm praying.
NBA analyst Charles Barkley offered a similarly positive note on "Inside the NBA" Thursday, telling Johnson he "was in shock" and "totally surprised" by Trump's win, but said it's time for the country to "move on" and hope for the GOP candidate's success in the White House.
Charles Barkley addresses the results of the presidential election. https://t.co/jxvg6XfL5c— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) November 11, 2016
"I was disappointed because my candidate didn't win," he said. "But, like I said, it's over now. He's gonna be the president of the United States. We have to respect the office and we have to give him a chance — that's the bottom line."
Barkley added, "Everything he said in the past, that's water under the bridge and we have to give him a chance and we have to support him because he's the president of the United States of America."