ESPN has reportedly pulled Rachel Nichols from its NBA programming and canceled the show she regularly hosts, The Jump. The Jump is expected to be replaced by another NBA-related show, but it is unclear if Nichols will be involved. The longtime NBA personality confirmed the news on Twitter earlier this afternoon in a series of tweets.
"[I] got to create a whole show and spend five years hanging out with some of my favorite people [while] talking about one my favorite things, [basketball]. [I would like to extend] an eternal thank you to our amazing producers [and] crew. The Jump was never built to last forever but it sure was fun," she wrote.
Adding to the announcement, ESPN executive David Roberts also issued a statement addressing the matter. While he did not identify where Nichols would be placed next, he referred to her as "an excellent reporter, host and journalist."
“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned. Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content,” Roberts added.
ESPN's decision to move Nichols comes less than two months after a New York Times report highlighted comments she made toward her former colleague, Maria Taylor. During last year's NBA bubble, Nichols was recorded having a conversation with communication strategist Adam Mendolsohn. Video shows Nichols complaining that Taylor had been selected to host ESPN's NBA Finals studio show, a job she believed she was contractually obligated to have. As the conversation unfolded, Nichols, a white reporter, insinuated Taylor, a Black reporter, received the job because of her race and not merit.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols told Mendelsohn.
“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.”
After Nichols' comments were made public, she was removed from her role as an NBA Finals sideline reporter and replaced by Malika Andrews. However, she was able to continue hosting The Jump until it was canceled this week. Meanwhile, Taylor left ESPN and secured a lucrative deal with NBC Sports. Also, she was able to cover the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Not to mention, Andrews became the youngest sports reporter in history to lead a post-game NBA Finals trophy ceremony.