ESPN’s Malika Andrews to host ‘NBA Today’ after Rachel Nichols controversy
'NBA Today' will premiere next month, the day before the new NBA season begins
ESPN has chosen a successor to Rachel Nichols’ The Jump with Malika Andrews and her new show, NBA Today.
ESPN announced on Monday that Andrews will host NBA Today which is set to debut on Oct. 18, a day before the 2021-2022 season begins. The flagship program will air weekdays from 3-4 p.m. ET on ESPN and the ESPN App. NBA Today will replace The Jump, which was canceled over the summer.
Andrews’ new hosting duties are part of a new multi-year contract extension with ESPN. NBA analysts Kendrick Perkins, Chiney Ogwumike, Vince Carter, and ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe will also be a part of NBA Today’s lineup.
Andrews shared her excitement on social media, retweeting an announcement of the news.
“Let’s do this!” she tweeted.
Andrews also expanded on her new career milestone with a statement that was released by ESPN.
“It’s an incredible time to cover the NBA – a league that is full of characters and stories that have resonance far beyond the sports world. Our goal every day is to deliver information and analysis to our viewers that can’t be gleaned anywhere else. I’m so excited to showcase the league and the talented reporters, analysts, and insiders on our team,” Andrews said.
Andrews being positioned as the new face of the daily programming was heralded by one of the top executives at ESPN.
“NBA Today will provide in-depth, comprehensive daily coverage of all aspects of the NBA. Malika, who is a phenomenally talented commentator, will run point on a show that will feature a vibrant cast of expert analysts who all offer distinct perspectives on the game. Through the contributions of our wide array of NBA reporters, the show will be both newsy and timely with an eye towards the biggest games around the league that day,” David Roberts, ESPN Senior Vice President, NBA and Studio Production, said in a statement.
Andrews joined ESPN as a Midwest regional reporter who covered Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls just before the 2018-19 NBA season and rose to the national scene while reporting on the league from Orlando last year as part of the coronavirus-induced NBA ‘bubble.’
She’s also been a sideline reporter for NBA games and during the 2021 NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns. Andrews was awarded the coveted role when disparaging comments by fellow ESPN star Rachel Nichols in reference to Maria Taylor came to light, as theGrio previously reported.
In a private call in 2020 that was inadvertently recorded and shared by an ESPN staffer, Nichols claimed that Taylor gained a promotion because she is Black.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said, “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”
Nichols apologized on air for her comments.
ESPN ultimately removed her from sideline reporting duties for the Finals. The fallout continued when ESPN announced in August that The Jump would be canceled. The decision was described as “mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned.”
Nichols still has one more year left on her contract at ESPN. It is not quite clear what her role at the network will be for the remainder of her time there but Taylor left ESPN in August for NBC when she couldn’t come to terms with the network on a contract extension.
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