Malika Andrews, a member of the Sports Journalism Institute’s Class of 2016, will work the sidelines for the NBA Finals, ESPN announced on July 6.
Andrews has been part of the reporting team covering the NBA online and on TV since she joined ESPN in 2018.
The 2021 Finals sideline role had been expected to be filled by Rachel Nichols. But after news broke this week of a video recorded last year in which Nichols suggested Maria Taylor had been chosen to host pre- and post-game Finals coverage because ESPN was “feeling pressure” on diversity, the network said Andrews would work sidelines in the Finals. Nichols will continue with her daily NBA show, The Jump, per ESPN.
“We believe this is the best decision for all concerned to keep the focus on the NBA Finals,” the network said in a statement.
USA Today, in reporting the move, said Andrews “has emerged as an invaluable asset to the company across multiple platforms (TV, podcasts, digital), as well as someone who can break news.”