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Who is Malika Andrews? Black NBA reporter with Emmy nomination to replace Rachel Nichols

Rachel Nichols recently got embroiled in controversy after she questioned and criticized the credentials of her Black colleague Maria Taylor
Rachel Nichols is all set to be replaced by Malika Andrews (Instagram/Malika Andrews, Rachel Nichols)
Rachel Nichols is all set to be replaced by Malika Andrews (Instagram/Malika Andrews, Rachel Nichols)

Following the outrage around ESPN journalist Rachel Nichols' problematic remarks regarding Black colleague Maria Taylor, the sports media has decided to replace Nichols with Malika Andrews. Now, Andrews would be seen representing the network as a sideline reporter at the 2021 NBA Finals. “We believe this is the best decision for all concerned in order to keep the focus on the NBA Finals," stated ESPN, confirming the replacement. 

Seasoned reporter Rachel Nichols recently got embroiled in controversy after she questioned and criticized the credentials of Maria Taylor, when ESPN had chosen her to host the NBA coverage last year. In an unintentionally recorded call with Adam Mendelsohn and Rich Paul, Nichols said, "If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.” 


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In a statement to the New York Times, Nichols later clarified that she was frustrated and was “unloading to a friend about ESPN’s process, not about Maria.” But she also added, “My own intentions in that conversation, and the opinion of those in charge at ESPN, are not the sum of what matters here — if Maria felt the conversation was upsetting, then it was, and I was the cause of that for her.” Nichols further revealed that she had reached out to Taylor to apologize through texts and phone calls, but the latter chose not to respond. 

Who is Malika Andrews?

Amid the controversy, ESPN decided to opt for Malika Andrews at the NBA Finals as Rachel Nichols' replacement. Andrews, who is 26-years-old, debuted as the youngest sideline reporter during the 2020 NBA Bubble. She has been working with ESPN since October 2018.

Born on January 27, 1995, in Oakland, California, she hails from a non-sports family, where her father was a personal trainer while her mother was an art teacher. Andrews grew up with a passion for basketball as she was an ardent fan of the Golden State Warriors. 

As a teenager, Andrews battled with an eating disorder after she was expelled from Head-Royce School. She later graduated from a therapeutic boarding school in Utah. She attended the University of Portland to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree and graduated in 2017 with honors. 

In college, Andrews worked as the sports editor and later the editor-in-chief for the student newspaper 'The Beacon'. For her outstanding work, she was awarded a scholarship from the National Association of Black Journalists. She also trained with Sports Journalism Institute, considering it her passion. 

In 2017, Andrews interned with the Denver Post, before joining The New York Times as a James Reston Reporting Fellow in the sports section. Later, she worked for the Chicago Tribune for a year, before being a part of ESPN. Initially, she covered the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks but later shifted to New York for covering the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. 

Last year, Malika Andrews became one of the first reporters to step into the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the completion of the 2019–20 NBA season in the Bubble. In January 2021, Andrews was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for the Sports industry. She was also nominated for an Emmy in the category of Emerging On-Air Talent.