Rachel Nichols Suggested A Black Colleague Was A Diversity Hire. Now, A Black Woman Is Taking Her Slot.
Karma will always get the job done.
September 20, 2021 at 8:01 pm
After canceling Rachel Nichols' The Jump amid controversy surrounding her comments calling sports reporter Maria Taylor a diversity hire, ESPN has hired Malika Andrews to host the new series NBA Today as its replacement.
ESPN has announced its replacement for Rachel Nichols' 'The Jump.'— Front Office Sports (@FOS) September 20, 2021
'NBA Today', hosted by Malika Andrews, premieres October 18th 📺
Andrews, also receiving a multi-year contract extension, will be joined by Kendrick Perkins, Chiney Ogwumike, Vince Carter & Zach Lowe. pic.twitter.com/stsfTk9hCd
Premiering on Oct. 18 on ESPN2, the one-hour series will air at 3 p.m. every weekday, Yahoo Sports reports.
Nichols' former co-hosts Vince Carter and Kendrick Perkins will join Andrews as panelists, along with writer and podcaster Zach Lowe and WNBA star and radio host Chiney Ogwumike. Famous NBA reporters such as Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski will also have spots on the show from time to time.
NBA Today will also travel outside of the office, covering major events like the NBA Finals. With NBA training camps starting in late September and preseason games beginning in early October, the show comes at just the right time.
“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," Andrews said in the company's press release. "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."
"'NBA Today' will provide in-depth, comprehensive daily coverage of all aspects of the NBA," David Roberts, ESPN senior vice president, NBA and studio productions, said in a release. "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."
At 26 years old, Andrews is quickly proving herself to be a solid and fast up-and-coming face for the network. Along with the show, she received a multi-year contract extension. She joined ESPN in 2018 and made history at the 2021 NBA finals as the youngest journalist to host the NBA Finals Trophy ceremony.
Nichols' was fired from ESPN after a taping of the commentator surfaced, referring to her colleague Taylor's promotion as a diversity initiative.
“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,” she said on the tape.
Nichols, a white longtime reporter for ESPN at the time, was unaware that she was being recorded. ESPN cut ties with her after the public incident, despite her apology. Taylor also eventually left the network in the aftermath, choosing to take on a gig with NBC Sports.