Who is Malika Andrews? ESPN’s NBA Draft host makes history, continues rise as media superstar

Few analysts have had as meteoric as rise as ESPN’s Malika Andrews.

Two summers ago, Andrews burst onto the scene reporting in Orlando bubble. Last year, Andrews took over sideline reporting duties at the NBA Finals following Rachel Nichols’s unceremonious and controversial departure from ESPN.

And now, Andrews has added another feather to her cap as she prepares to become the first woman ever to host the NBA Draft.

Here is a look back at how Andrews got her start and what’s next for ESPN’s budding media superstar.

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Who is Malika Andrews?

Malika Andrews is one of ESPN’s lead NBA analysts. She’s been with the sports broadcasting superpower since 2019, having previously worked for the Chicago Tribune and New York Times as a reporting fellow.

Andrews got her start at the company writing about the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, building a rapport with budding Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, Antetokounmpo abruptly left a press conference after Andrews asked him a question following Milwaukee’s defeat to the Raptors in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. Andrews and ESPN went live with a story indicating that Antetokounmpo’s long-term future with Milwaukee might have been in jeopardy mere minutes after the Bucks’ loss. Antetokounmpo’s camp didn’t take too kindly to it.

Nonetheless, Andrews continued her meteoric rise up the industry ladder. She featured heavily in ESPN’s coverage of the bubble, taking on sideline reporting duties fully masked up. Andrews also interviewed draft prospects during the 2020 NBA Draft, which was held virtually in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Bay Area native had become a much-valued part of ESPN’s broadcasting team. So when ESPN let Nichols go after being caught on tape making controversial statements about then-colleague and fellow host Maria Taylor, Andrews was the ideal choice to take her place.

First, she filled in as the sideline reporter during the 2021 NBA Finals. Then, Andrews took on hosting duties of NBA Today, ESPN’s daily NBA show.

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Andrews’ promotion has produced its fair share of television gold, including this humorous interaction between Andrews and her sister, Kendra, who now works for ESPN as a reporter for the Golden State Warriors.

Malika Andrews accolades

Despite being just 27, Andrews has received a sizable amount of acclaim for her performance on ESPN. She won a Sports Emmy for Emerging On-Air Talent earlier this year.

Andrews also earned a nod on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2021, getting recognized for her commitment to “advocating internally at ESPN for more nuanced coverage of race and gender topics.”

If you’re tuning into Thursday’s draft, it won’t be the last time you see Andrews on the sport’s biggest stage.

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