Did Rachel Nichols hook up with Ersan Ilyasova? Fresh rumors about what went down in 'NBA Bubble'

Twitter is abuzz with unsubstantiated rumors about the 'NBA Bubble' hookups between Rachel Nichols and Ersan Ilyasova in 2020

                            Did Rachel Nichols hook up with Ersan Ilyasova? Fresh rumors about what went down in 'NBA Bubble'
Latest rumors about Rachel Nichols link her to Ersan Ilyasova (Photos by David Becker/Getty Images and Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Rachel Nichols has apologized to ESPN colleague Maria Taylor on air after a leaked audio clip revealed Nichols complaining about Taylor getting Nichols’ NBA Finals hosting gig in 2020 for "diversity" reasons. But post the racism controversy, she has also found herself at the receiving end of a lot of rumors about her alleged sex partners. One rumor suggests an alleged sex tape of Nichols and NBA star Jimmy Butler was leaked from the 2020 "NBA Bubble" - the isolation zone at Walt Disney World, near Orlando, that had hotels exclusively reserved for teams.

Another was about her alleged relationship with player Ersan Ilyasova during the same time. A Turkish professional basketball player, Ilyasova -- who allegedly got together with Nichols -- plays for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association. He was previously part of the Milwaukee Bucks, the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Atlanta Hawks. 


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A little-known website called Jordan Thrilla, which deals with “Urban, Sports, HipHop, Conspiracy Theories”  reported that last year there was a rumor claiming that a security guard went to Butler's hotel room after hearing a thumping sound from his room. At that time, all the players of the team were quarantined before the NBA games.

The website reported, "Rumor has it those thumping sounds were Jimmy Butler smashing Rachel Nichols at NBA bubble in his hotel room." It was also reported that the incident allegedly happened after the journalist took Butler's interview for ESPN. The rumor about Nichols and Ilyasova has also been reported by the same website. However, no legitimate or trustworthy sources for either allegation seems to exist. Yet, the internet is full of claims that Nichols and Ilyasova had “hooked up”. 

“Streets saying Rachel Nichols slept with Ersan Ilyasova in the bubble,” tweeted one account handle. Another Twitter user seemed to not believe this allegation and said, “Wait wait wait jimmy butler and Ersan Ilyasova smashed Rachel Nichols in the nba bubble last year ?!!! Nah who started this rumor show yourself.” One person on Twitter asked, “you telling me that out of every nba player rachel nichols decided to bag ersan ilyasova.” And one person on Twitter wondered, “We went from Rachel Nichols is racist to Rachel Nichols getting with ersan ilyasova in the bubble. What. The. Fuck.  Happened.”





Nichols said in July 2020, while talking to Adam Mendelsohn, an adviser to LeBron James, from inside the NBA bubble: “I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. 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.” Nichols was unaware her video camera was on while she was on the phone, and it was recorded and uploaded to an ESPN server.

On Monday, July 5, Nichols said on air: "So the first thing they teach you in journalism school is don’t be the story. And I don’t plan to break that rule today or distract from a fantastic Finals. But I also don’t want to let this moment pass without saying how much I respect, how much I value our colleagues here at ESPN. How deeply, deeply sorry I am for disappointing those I hurt, particularly Maria Taylor, and how grateful I am to be part of this outstanding team."

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