Rachel Nichols will not be appearing on any of ESPN's NBA programming moving forward, and her weekday afternoon show The Jump will be cancelled. In fact, it's unlikely Nichols will ever appear on ESPN again. That bombshell report comes courtesy of John Ourand at Sports Business Journal.
Nichols has more than a year left on her contract, but ESPN is unlikely to put her back on air during that time. She was informed of the decisions this week, according to SBJ.
ESPN's senior vice president of production, David Roberts said the decision was mutual. “We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned," Roberts said in a statement emailed to SBJ. "Rachel is an excellent reporter, host and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”
The Jump will be cancelled after a few more episodes, then replaced by a new NBA afternoon show.
This massive move comes nearly a year after Nichols was caught on tape complaining about losing airtime to then-colleague Maria Taylor. Taylor had been chosen to host NBA Countdown during the NBA Finals and Nichols complained about the switch in a phone call to LeBron James' PR ace Adam Mendelsohn. The call took place during the NBA's Orlando bubble, but the entire story did not become public until July of 2021. Taylor has since left ESPN for NBC.
Nichols first joined ESPN in 2004, becoming a regular host of SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. She left the network in 2013 for CNN, while also working as a sideline reporter for Turner Sports' NBA on TNT. She returned to ESPN in 2016 and created The Jump, which she has hosted ever since.
The Nichols-Taylor story was the biggest sports media mess of the year and it's wild that neither will be at ESPN anymore.