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Report: ‘Strong Candidate’ Emerges For Maria Taylor’s Replacement

ESPN NBA reporter Malika Andrews is a serious rising star with the Worldwide Leader. With Maria Taylor leaving the network, and expected to take a role with NBC Sports, Andrews’ name has come up to take over her role on NBA Countdown.

Andrews, who is just 26, has really risen through the ranks over the last year. ESPN sent her as one of the first reporters on the ground at the NBA Bubble in Orlando last summer. During the NBA Finals, after the Rachel Nichols drama led ABC/ESPN to remove her from sideline duties, Andrews stepped in and received rave reviews for her work.

“Given her impressive performance during the NBA Finals, ESPN’s Malika Andrews is viewed as a strong candidate to succeed departing Maria Taylor as host of “NBA Countdown,” Front Office Sports reports. “The 26-year old Andrews seamlessly handled the post-game interviews and trophy ceremony with NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on Tuesday night amid the wild celebration scene at the Milwaukee Bucks arena.”

The site reports that Nichols, who hosts the network’s daily NBA show The Jump, is not in the running for the Countdown gig. Andrews may have the inside track, but others including Cassidy Hubbarth, Elle Duncan, and Sage Steele, who has experience hosting the show, could be in the mix as well.

The report notes that Andrews does not have anchor or hosting experience, with most of her work coming as a reporter. That may be a big factor in whether or not she gets the nod, or if ESPN goes with one of the more experienced options listed above.

NBA Countdown is not the only big hole on the ESPN roster that Maria Taylor leaves. She also had a role on College GameDay, and served as the sideline reporter for ABC’s primetime Saturday night college football broadcasts.

ESPN has plenty of work to do to replace Taylor, and to try and ensure that something like the Nichols situation doesn’t play out again in the future.

[Front Office Sports]

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