ESPN canceled The Jump, hosted by Rachel Nichols, and removed her from coverage of the NBA on Wednesday, August 25, leaving her future at the network unclear.
Nichols, well-known as a basketball studio host and reporter, hosted the daily basketball show for five years.
Her status at ESPN had been shaky in recent months, however, since a tape leaked in which Nichols said the network promoted Maria Taylor to host the coverage of the 2020 NBA Finals in an effort to promote diversity.
Taylor, who is Black, left ESPN in July when her contract expired and immediately joined NBC to work on its coverage of the Tokyo Olympics.
Nichols addressed the cancellation of The Jump on Twitter.
“Got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people talking about one my favorite things,” she said, peppering her sentence with heart and basketball emojis. “An eternal thank you to our amazing producers & crew – The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun. More to come…”
ESPN did not say whether Nichols will appear on the network again or whether she will sit the remainder of her contract on the sidelines. The Washington Post reported her contract expires in 2023.
“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned,” said Dave Roberts, who oversees NBA production, in a statement released by ESPN. “Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”
With the start of the 2021-2022 NBA season just two months away, ESPN must replace both Taylor and Nichols in their prominent NBA roles. The New York Times also reported a new daily show to succeed The Jump likely will be developed.
Nichols worked at ESPN from 2004-2013, then returned in 2016 with the launch of The Jump. – Rappler.com