Malika Andrews will work the 2021 NBA Finals as a sideline reporter for ESPN. The network announced Andrews would replace Rachel Nichols as its sideline reporter amid reports of internal strife following a leaked video in which Nichols questioned Maria Taylor's credentials.
ESPN announces Malika Andrews will replace Rachel Nichols as sideline reporter during the NBA Finals: “We believe this is best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals. Rachel will continue to host The Jump.”
— Ben Strauss (@benjstrauss) July 6, 2021
ESPN said the change was the "best decision for all concerned."
The move comes days after a bombshell report from The New York Times in which Nichols said ESPN was pushing Taylor only due to the network's "crappy longtime record on diversity." Those comments reportedly caused strife within the network, particularly among those involved with ESPN's NBA coverage.
Rachel Nichols apologizes for comments about Maria Taylor
Nichols opened "The Jump" on Monday by apologizing to Taylor for those comments. Kendrick Perkins and Richard Jefferson also spoke about the situation, saying they also support Taylor.
While Nichols is being removed from sideline duty, she's expected to continue hosting "The Jump" during the Finals. But Tuesday's episode of the program was canceled, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.
NEWS: ESPN canceled Rachel Nichols' The Jump for today, The Post has learned.
The plan is to have it on tomorrow.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) July 6, 2021
"The Jump" is expected to return Wednesday.
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