Malika Andrews and the crew of “NBA Today” will have a bigger profile this season.
Andrews will host the “NBA Countdown” studio show that airs during Wednesday’s games. Andrews will be joined by analysts Richard Jefferson, Sugar Ogwumike and Kendrick Perkins, and senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
Coverage will primarily be from ESPN’s Los Angeles studio, which is across the street from the Crypto.com Arena – the home of the Lakers and Clippers.
Andrews filled in for Mike Greenberg several times last season, saying he felt nervous during the first couple of days. She said there might be less worry this time as it is a familiar cast.
“It is the kind of feel, vibe and chemistry with the same people I get to work with every day. Just in a different time slot,” Andrews said.
The move also increases Andrews’ role. In addition to handling “NBA Today” last year and continuing his role as a sideline reporter, he hosted network coverage of the NBA Draft and the NBA Draft Lottery.
Andrews rose to prominence two years ago when she reported from inside the Orlando bubble, and was a sideline reporter during the 2021 NBA Finals after Rachel Nichols withdrew from coverage.
Nichols did not work out the finals and a few months later ESPN finally saw his time when reports emerged that Nichols, who had accidentally entered the bubble, suggested that collaborator Maria Taylor’s 2020 NBA Finals host The promotion was related to diversity.
“NBA Today” replaced Nichols’ “The Jump” last September. Ratings for this September were up 8% from last year, while coverage of the NBA Summer League and free agency in July were the highest in five years seen in Timelot.
“I am still learning to be the best host I can be. I still watch every show, take notes and see how I can be better,” Andrews said. Can’t build up scripture and say, ‘Okay, we’re going to add another two, and suddenly the other side spits out chemistry.’ I’ve been a collaborator with Richard, Sugar, and Kendrick for years, but we didn’t work together every day like we do now. I think going into year two would also help. ,
ESPN’s head of NBA and studio production, Dave Roberts, praised Andrews for being ready and quickly adapting to being a studio host.
Malika is a universally respected journalist and she continues to excel in every assignment she is given,” he said, adding, “If you wish, she can serve as an excellent point guard so that everyone else on that set to be made better.”
Greenberg will continue to host most of ESPN and ABC’s NBA events, but Andrews will also have an important role, either as a sideline reporter or contributing to features and interviews.
Andrews said she doesn’t have much time to think about her rise over the past two years, but when she does, she feels grateful.
“I never thought I’d get to do this. I think it’s cool when kids are doing fake interviews because I struggled as a teen,” she said. “I didn’t have this perfect plan for coming together and now everything has come together in this imperfect yet perfect way.”