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ESPN announces Malika Andrews will replace Rachel Nichols at NBA Finals amid internal strife

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Malika Andrews will work the 2021 NBA Finals as a sideline reporter for ESPN. The network announced Andrews would replace Rachel Nichols as its sideline reporter amid reports of internal strife following a leaked video in which Nichols questioned Maria Taylor's credentials.

The network made the announcement Tuesday, hours before the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the Finals

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ESPN said the change was the "best decision for all concerned."

The move comes days after a bombshell report from The New York Times in which Nichols said ESPN was pushing Taylor only due to the network's "crappy longtime record on diversity." Those comments reportedly caused strife within the network, particularly among those involved with ESPN's NBA coverage. 

Malika Andrews stands on the court prior to a game.
ESPN reporter Malika Andrews will be the sideline reporter for the 2021 NBA Finals, replacing Rachel Nichols amid internal controversy. (Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

Rachel Nichols apologizes for comments about Maria Taylor

Nichols opened "The Jump" on Monday by apologizing to Taylor for those comments. Kendrick Perkins and Richard Jefferson also spoke about the situation, saying they also support Taylor.

While Nichols is being removed from sideline duty, she's expected to continue hosting "The Jump" during the Finals. But Tuesday's episode of the program was canceled, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. 

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"The Jump" is expected to return Wednesday. 

ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols stands on the court before a game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks on July 31, 2020. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols stands on the court before a game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks on July 31, 2020. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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