Remember when the New York Times dropped a bombshell report on July 4 about the subsequent fallout from Rachel Nichols privately accusing ESPN of only pushing for fellow NBA analyst Maria Taylor because she’s a Black woman? And then ESPN booted Nichols from covering the NBA Finals in favor of another Black woman, blossoming superstar Malika Andrews?
Almost every single time I see ESPN reporter Malika Andrews on one of the network’s shows, I literally yell, “Why in the hell don’t they use her more?!?!” at my TV. For anyone who’s listened to the 26-year-old spend even 10 seconds breaking down everything from playoff expectations to NBA players amplifying calls for social justice, they know that her nuance and grasp of the game is unparalleled by just about anyone else at the worldwide leader in sports.
Sadly, despite her undeniable talent, the Oakland native has primarily been relegated to spot duty since joining ESPN in 2018.
Then, when Nichols was removed from all ESPN programming and dismissed from the network altogether, I deemed it Malika Andrews Appreciation Day and said this:
With The Jump officially canceled—unlike DaBaby—ESPN will pivot by creating another daily NBA show that will follow a similar format as the long-running NFL Live. And while the network is still brimming with on-air talent—despite a recent mass exodus that includes Maria Taylor, Hall of Fame sports writer Jackie MacMullan, LZ Granderson, and others—the perfect person for the job is rising star Malika Andrews. I previously sang her praises when Nichols was pulled from serving as a sideline reporter during the 2021 NBA Finals:
Her talent is undeniable, and she filled in admirably for Nichols during a recent stint on The Jump (whose absence makes much more sense in hindsight). Since joining the network in 2018, the Oakland native has primarily been relegated to spot duty. But with Nichols and Taylor no longer on the payroll, her time is now. So don’t fuck this up, ESPN!
Meanwhile, the internet said this:
So in recognizing the power of speaking things into existence, while also admitting that I am acutely aware that there are millions of people who read The Root—many of whom are CEOs, powerful executives, public figures, and/or influential individuals in their own right—it comes as absolutely no surprise whatsoever that, according to a press release, provided to The Root, ESPN has announced a new show, NBA Today, and take a wild guess as to who the host will be!
ESPN is launching a new studio show NBA Today, beginning on Monday, October 18, just prior to the October 19 tipoff of the 2021-22 NBA regular season. ESPN NBA journalist Malika Andrews will host NBA Today as part of a new, multi-year contract extension. Andrews will be joined by ESPN NBA analysts Kendrick Perkins, Chiney Ogwumike, Vince Carter and ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe to form the NBA Today panel. Additionally, ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski and ESPN NBA Insider and Senior Writer Ramona Shelburne will be among several top ESPN NBA reporters contributing updates from around the league.
Did I not call this?!
I TOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLD YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!
Prior to the 2018-19 NBA season, Malika joined ESPN as a Midwest region reporter. During which, she covered the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls. But after crushing it in that role, she then pivoted to national reporting prior to the following season and eventually became one of the most prominent voices in sports as she chronicled the NBA Bubble from inside of it. And in following that same career trajectory, a year later, now she has a whole-ass daily TV show on ESPN. However, beyond the work she’ll put in on NBA Today, she’ll still continue to serve as a sideline reporter for NBA live event coverage, while also providing special reports and conducting exclusive interviews with key players.
“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,” she said in a statement provided to The Root. “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.”
“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,” David Roberts, ESPN Senior Vice President, NBA and Studio Production, said in a statement provided to The Root. “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.”
Moral of the story: Never in your life doubt me again.