By: Alyssa Wilson
ESPN sideline reporter Malika Andrews is being praised for her performance reporting during the NBA Finals, where the Milwaukee Bucks came out victorious against the Phoenix Suns.
Trophy ceremony interview with Giannis Antetokounmpo — NBA Champion and Finals MVP pic.twitter.com/ewqMjYx1EI
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 21, 2021
According to Newsweek, Andrews, who is 26 years old, became the youngest sports broadcaster to host the NBA Finals Trophy ceremony. She replaced Rachel Nichols, who is white, and was removed from covering the event after her comments about her Black colleague, Maria Taylor, were leaked.
Many sports professionals, including J.A. Adande, the Director of Sports Journalism at Northwestern University, spoke highly of Andrews on social media after the game.
Can’t play point guard any better than @malika_andrews did running the trophy presentation
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) July 21, 2021
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Andrews’ performance was “very impressive” and recognized her ability to handle the event with professionalism.
Very impressive to watch a 26-year-old @malika_andrews interview the world-champion Milwaukee Bucks on national television, and handle it as smoothly and professionally as she has.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 21, 2021
Mike Hill, co-host of BNC’s Start Your Day and a former ESPN reporter, said Andrews and Bucks MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo were “spectacular” on the court in the series.
— Mike Hill (@ItsMikeHill) July 21, 2021
Citing the short-term notice Andrews had to prepare for the series after Nichols was ousted, Hill said she was well prepared. “She stepped up a day before the finals began to fill in in this role after the whole Rachel Nichols situation,” he said. “There’s a lot of preparation that goes into [the role], mental preparation of course, just the physical preparation of actually just looking up all the stats and getting ready for this type of series, and she came in and she was ready. She did her thing. She had insight, she had knowledge, she was poised down the stretch giving that trophy presentation and I could not be prouder of that young lady today.”
Sharon Reed, Hill’s co-host on Start Your Day, gave Andrews props for being prepared. “She was ready. She was ready when they called her number,” she said. “And regardless of how she got there, I think she should stay. I think she should stay. I think we are ready for her fresh face, for her energy and for her skillset.”