Malika Andrews is capping off a fast journey that has taken her from the sidelines of NBA games to a central seat at a lot of its big events.
The sportscaster is taking on the host duties of ESPN’s NBA Draft, succeeding Rece Davis, who led the printed for greater than a decade. In doing so, Andrews cements her status as one in all ESPN’s mainstay journalists, having been awarded hosting duties on “NBA Today” in 2021.
The June 23 Draft broadcast, emanating from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, will top off Andrews’ busy schedule in weeks ahead. She may also host the NBA Draft Lottery telecast this evening at 8 p.m. on ESPN, prior to Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. She also hosts “NBA Today” from the NBA Draft Mix at 3 p.m. on ESPN throughout the week of May 16. NBA Today will air on site on the NBA Draft on June 23 as well.
“We consider our comprehensive coverage strategy for the 2022 NBA Draft will serve basketball fans to the fullest. We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this 12 months’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our primary set,” says David Roberts, ESPN’s head of NBA and studio production, in an announcement provided by email. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with completed journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
Andrews says she’s looking forward to exercising different muscles when she is joined by analysts Jay Bilas and Kendrick Perkins, NBA Draft analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz and senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski on the Draft primary set. Considered one of the young players chosen as picks may develop into a superstar. “The NBA may be very star-fandom driven, and that’s why people connect,” Andrews says during an interview. Covering the Draft means keeping track of player and families as they experience something “that’s going to alter your entire world view and fortune and outlook.”
ESPN has televised the NBA Draft for 20 consecutive years, but Andrews’ presence will put a recent face at the middle of it. “I even have dauntingly enormous shoes to fill in replacing Rece,” she says. “He stays someone who I watch to learn find out how to be a greater host on ‘NBA Today,’ and attempting to do what he has done so seamlessly and flawlessly through the years goes to be a challenge.”
The trick of Draft coverage, says Andrews, is that “all of it happens on the fly,” and her team should be able to follow the news of the picks. ESPN can have “lasered” the hopefuls right down to top candidates, she says, but nobody can really ensure concerning the direction of the night.
Andrews wasn’t as well-known a presence on ESPN before taking the reins of “NBA Today,” itself a re-crafted piece of the sports giant’s basketball programming. In 2021, ESPN canceled its previous NBA news show, “The Jump,” after anchor Rachel Nichols became embroiled in an in-house controversy.
Her recent project was, at first, “somewhat scary,” says Andrews. “I make my mistakes in a really public place, and hopefully they aren’t that big,” she says, adding: “I even have a ‘get-to’ job not a ‘have-to’ job. It definitely has a learning curve,” and he or she’s enjoyed watching shows from six months ago to see how much has modified “with my interactions with my teammates changing, with my delivery on the show changing with my comfort level as a bunch.”
ESPN’s parent, Disney, is working to make the NBA Draft a much bigger property. ABC will broadcast the primary around the second consecutive 12 months. Kevin Negandhi returns because the host and will probably be joined by analysts Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will serve because the event reporter and conduct interviews with draftees upon their selection.
There may also be a “red carpet” pregame show, seen on ESPN between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on June 23. Cassidy Hubbarth will host, joined Kendrick Perkins and Richard Jefferson to preview the event and interview the potential draftees, team personnel and celebrities on the red carpet.