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“We believe this is the best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals,” ESPN said in a statement. “Rachel will continue to host The Jump [her daily NBA show on ESPN 2].”
The decision came after Nichols apologized on Monday for comments she made in a call last summer with Adam Mendelsohn, an adviser to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.
In the call, which was released in a New York Times story over the weekend, Nichols sharply criticized ESPN and suggested that the channel had given fellow on-air NBA reporter Maria Taylor the high-profile pre-game hosting duties because of the network’s “crappy longtime record on diversity.”
The comments were seen internally as an insult to Taylor, a rising star at ESPN. Taylor’s contract, however, is up later this month, and it is not clear whether the channel and the talent will be able to come to new terms before it expires. Taylor is scheduled to host ESPN’s pre-game and halftime coverage during the NBA Finals.
Malika Andrews, meanwhile, joined ESPN in 2018 and worked as a sideline reporter in the NBA “bubble” last year.
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