Malika Andrews Is ESPN’s New Unqualified ‘Chosen One’ | Bobby Burack

Videos by OutKick

Malika Andrews is the new Chosen One at ESPN.

Every few years, ESPN handpicks a young broadcaster to jump the line over more proven, skilled veterans. Katie Nolan, Bomani Jones, Maria Taylor, and Michele Beadle were previous recipients of the treatment — all of whom failed. In fact, all four no longer work for ESPN.

But perhaps not even those four were pushed as aggressively and prematurely as Andrews.

In 2020, Malika Andrews was a 25-year-old up-and-coming NBA reporter. Her talent outshined her lack of experience. It was conceivable that she could work her way up to a premiere NBA sideline reporter, perhaps even an NBA host in the next 10-15 years. She had the talent.

Then, in the summer of 2021, came the well-documented Rachel Nichols-Maria Taylor drama in which ESPN sought to prove it enabled women of color to succeed. And because then-NBA host Taylor departed for NBC after getting Nichols fired, ESPN had to find a woman of color to fill the void.

ESPN chose Andrews. The network gave her a daily NBA show in the time slot Nichols assumed before her firing. Social media appreciated the move. #Diversity.

Malika Andrews.

Still, Andrews had never hosted a show before ESPN named her the host of its premiere NBA program.

In the meantime, ESPN opted to stabilize its pregame show with Mike Greenberg, a polished anchor of over 20 years. A plan was in the place: Malika Andrews would one day succeed Greenberg, but not today.

Given Greenberg’s success on the show and Andrews’ struggles as a host, it would have made sense to keep him as host until at least the end of the 2025 season, when ESPN re-negotiates its broadcast deal with the NBA.

But a Chosen One shall not wait their turn. Thus, instead, ESPN decided this summer to replace Greenberg with Andrews as host of the Finals, two years after she first learned to host.

In addition, Andrews also replaced Rece Davis as the host of the NBA Draft.

At 28 years old, Malkia Andrews is now the anchor of the NBA Finals, NBA Draft and ESPN’s daily NBA program.

Not bad for someone with less than three years of hosting experience.

Now, this is not to say a broadcaster cannot ascend quicker than the average. However, Andrews did not prove herself worthy of such a high-profile platform. At least not yet.

Particularly, she has not conducted herself as a professional. Rather, she has used her platforms to go off-script and espouse uninformed political opinions.

One year ago, Malika Andrews struggled to hold back tears during ESPN’s NBA Draft coverage because the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Andrews, who does not have children, pounded the table (literally) and declared that women have a “constitutional right” to have an abortion.

Besides the peculiarity of protesting the Supreme Court during the NBA Draft, Andrews proved herself ignorant.

Abortion was never a constitutional right. Instead, the Supreme Court in 1973 dubiously ruled that abortion fell under the right to “privacy.”

Moreover, Andrews failed to note the ruling did not “ban” abortions. The ruling merely gave the power back to states, where it, by the letter of the law, belongs.

Other than noting that the Court overturned Roe, she failed to understand a topic over which she expounded profusely.

As did she months prior when she fumed over the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse.

“We are all black people, and so I wanted to make sure that we created some space for anything that we want to say here before we talk about basketball, ” Andrews said on ESPN while interrupting coverage of the NBA.

The segment progressed to claim Rittenhouse took an AK-47 across state lines. Of course, Rittenhouse did not cross state lines or carry an AK.

And given the fact the people he defended himself against and killed were white, the racial angle she pushed proved unnecessary.

Andrews has repeatedly taken it upon herself to inject politics into the coverage of sports. She is both unqualified and overly emotional. She is the exact type of personality that has driven sports fans away from ESPN.

She is a more charming Elle Duncan, a softer-spoken Sarah Spain.

But at least Duncan and Spain spew their opinions on low-rated talk-programs. Andrews is about to anchor the NBA Finals in front of millions of viewers, most of whom do not turn to sports for one-sided political commentary.

The goal should have been to groom Andrews into a polished host who better understands how to handle the intersection of sports and politics.

But rather than allowing Andrews to grow into the role, ESPN, without hesitation, skyrocketed her to the top of the network.

ESPN is about to increase Andrews’ profile and pay her over a million dollars a year. Yet it has also set her up to fail, exposing her to spheres for which she’s not yet qualified.

Malika Andrews is The Chosen One, for now. 

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


Leave a Reply
  1. Its hard to blame Andrews for her behavior. Everyone who has engaged in progressive political grandstanding before her has been handsomely rewarded. The people she currently jumped over stuck to doing their jobs, which at ESPN, is the foolish, career suicide move.

Leave a Reply