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Malika Andrews Hates NBA Bubble Comparisons To Prison

“As the bubble was beginning, Andrews mentioned that people joked with her about how her quarantine time was over and considering what has gone on in the United States, it was something that bothered her.”

Ricky Keeler

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After the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Finals Sunday night against the Miami Heat, the NBA bubble down in Walt Disney World officially came to a close. For 107 days, the NBA took on the tough task and it ended up being a success. 

One reporter who was down in Florida covering the action from the beginning to the end was ESPN’s Malika Andrews, who has become one of the rising stars in the industry. On the latest ESPN Daily with Pablo Torre, she talked to Torre before she left the bubble and when she got home to New York City and reflected on what life was like in Orlando and how it feels now that she’s back. 

During part of this podcast, she was joined by her producer, Malinda Adams, who was with Andrews for all 107 days in Orlando. As the bubble was beginning, Andrews mentioned that people joked with her about how her quarantine time was over and considering what has gone on in the United States, it was something that bothered her.

“When I first got here, there were a lot of folks who joked when you got out of quarantine, you served your time and that always bothered me mainly because when you look at prison systems in the United States, that has been a hot bed for Coronavirus in many cases and so they couldn’t be more different than the discomfort that folks who are incarcerated here in the United States are going through.”

Andrews and Adams had worked together before the bubble as Andrews said they worked together during the Eastern Conference Finals last season. However, when you are stuck in one place for a long period of time, that bond can continue to grow.

 That bond extended over to the people that Andrews and Adams were around daily inside of the bubble. While Andrews mentions that as a reporter, it is important to set boundaries with the people you cover, this experience, naturally, tended to be a little different. 

“I have long maintained that an important pillar of what we do is setting boundaries with the people you cover. I grow very fond of people I cover, but I try to make sure a friendship could never come between asking the necessary, hard questions that need to be asked. But, I do think there’s something bonding about this experience. Everyone became creatures of habit there and you got to know people’s quirks, habits, routines. We gave a hug to Heather in the mail room and Pam in the package room, people I never would have met.” 

Both of them reflected on their own memories of what went on in Orlando, but one moment stood out where Adams not only had to play producer, but she had to put on her reporter hat as well as the Bucks were about to boycott Game 5 of their first round series against the Magic.

“When the Milwaukee Bucks elected to boycott, it was Malinda who was following the Orlando Magic side of it because I could only be in one place. She was the one who was texting me, the Magic are on the court, they left the court. It was one of the things where she was a reporter down here,” said Andrews. 

So, now back in New York, what does Andrews think now about the NBA season not having a firm date for the 2021 season? She brought up there is some anxiety about no official date being mentioned yet.

“Well, part of the reason that I think there was a bittersweet feeling to the end of the bubble in addition to the fact there were many close relationships built, the fact that it was something that felt safe, I think the other thing that makes it a little bit sad and anxiety-provoking is that there isn’t a firm date for the restart of the season yet.”

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NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth

“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

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It’s officially official: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen will join the Big Ten on NBC booth when the network begins airing the conference’s football package in 2023.

NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.

“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.

“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.

“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.

Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.

Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.

2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.

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CBS Tried ‘Intervention’ With Tony Romo

“They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

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After his performance during the 2022 season, many have questioned why CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has seemed off his game after seeing high praise during the early stages of his broadcasting career.

A recent nugget from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post claims CBS executives attempted an “intervention” with Romo before the season.

“Tony Romo needs to study more,” Marchand said during The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast. “He needs to be better prepared. As you move away from the sidelines, you need to do more work. I know CBS is aware of this. They tried an intervention last offseason. They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

Marchand also argued that it appears as if Romo’s partner — Jim Nantz — is content to let the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback struggle.

“This was the narrative out of CBS when Romo was getting all of the publicity: you heard from Nantz’ side and people from CBS that Nantz was the one creating Romo,” quipped Marchand. “The issue now is, why isn’t Nantz helping Romo get to this next level?”

Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS in 2020 — addressed his critics in an interview with Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post, saying he’s simply trying new things.

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

The 42-year-old Romo appeared to push back on the insinuation that he doesn’t prepare for broadcasts like he used to during the interview.

“You’re going to fail all the time, but at the same time, you succeed because of that, as long as you think about it and try to understand how to improve and then go about the process to make that happen, which is work ethic and commitment. But you got to have a plan for it before.”

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Jason Benetti: Negotiations With Chicago White Sox ‘Kind of A Pain’

“I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done.”

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Jason Benetti

Jason Benetti and Steve Stone recently saw their contracts renewed by NBC Sports Chicago to team once more as the television voices of the Chicago White Sox. Benetti says the talks about a renewal weren’t without their hiccups.

In a profile with Chicago Sun-Times writer Jeff Agrest, Benetti said the talks about the situation weren’t exactly what he envisioned.

“The really good news is we got somewhere good,” Benetti said. “It was kind of a pain, really. There were some things that we had to get through that I thought were silly, and I’m sure they thought some of the stuff that I was talking about might’ve been silly. But we got there in the end.”

Agrest reported the Atlanta Braves were watching the situation with bated breath. Their television play-by-play announcer, Chip Caray, recently departed for the same position with the St. Louis Cardinals.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations between the White Sox and Benetti was how many regular season contests he would miss due to his work with FOX Sports. Benetti is announcing MLB and college football games for the network in 2023 and did his first NFL work for FOX Sports this season. Benetti admitted that were points of frustration along the way.

“I think the work has been strong and I appreciate the heck out of the fans and I have loved the Sox for all my life. I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done. Where I have put myself, totally honestly, the place I am is we got it done, and that means something. It means both sides wanted it to happen.”

Chicago White Sox Senior Vice President of Revenue and Marketing Brooks Boyer told Agrest he didn’t see any complications in the negotiations.

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