The Rise Of ESPN’s Malika Andrews Is A Win For Black Women In Sports Media

Rising media star Mailka Andrews gets her own show on ESPN, called “NBA Today,“ which begins airing on October 18th. (Photo: @malika_andrews/IG)

So after all of the dust cleared and the drama subsided, Malika Andrews came out on the winning side. The rising star gets her own show on ESPN, called “NBA Today,” which begins airing on Oct. 18.

The show replaces “The Jump” which was hosted by Rachel Nichols, who was recently ousted from all NBA programming by the network amid her comments made about former “NBA Countdown” host Maria Taylor.

Taylor left the network in the midst of all of the drama and after she couldn’t reach a suitable agreement with the network.

The Rise Of Malika Andrews

Malika Andrews began her ESPN career as an online writer and sideline reporter where she covered Midwest teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls.

That led to her debuting as the youngest sideline reporter for the network during the NBA bubble.

The sports world became familiar with her face, analysis and her dogged reporting. She’s a new-generation sports personality with an old-school reporter’s mentality.

The Future

We’ve even heard folks say that if Stephen A. Smith is the face of ESPN, then Andrews is the future. Her work as a sideline reporter during the NBA Finals drew rave reviews as she stepped in for the demoted Rachel Nichols.

ESPN’s hope is this move will begin to put an end to an ugly era of backstabbing and public power struggles at the sports and entertainment giant.

Andrews, who received a contract extension, will anchor the show which will also feature other analysts; former NBA player Kendrick Perkins, WNBA player Chiney Ogwumike, Zach Lowe and future Basketball Hall of Famer Vince Carter.

“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” said David Roberts ESPN’s senior vice president of NBA and studio production. “Through the contributions of our wide array of NBA reporters, the show will be newsy and timely with an eye towards the biggest games around the league that day.”

ESPN Gets It Right 

ESPN seems to be trying to make up for the way it mismanaged the Maria Taylor situation — and Andrews is the worthy beneficiary of that strategic misstep by the network as it tries to regain its positive standing among Black women who watch sports, but have been critical of ESPN’s culture.

Maria Taylor Is In High Demand | NBC Network Is Lurking

Andrews’ show should recapture some of that audience. She’s happy for the opportunity to lead a show.

Jemele Hill was the first Black women to host a ESPN show in prime time. You see how that relationship with The Worldwide Leader ended.

Hill’s doing fine now and building her own media conglomerate, but there’s a large contingent of people who believe she deserved better, more support.

Now it’s Andrews’ turn. She’s had the opportunity to observe, listen and learn.

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.” “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 reporters, analysts and insiders on our team.”

Much success to her as she pioneers a new space in the ever-evolving sports media game.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.