Malika Andrews

Malika Andrews hosting ESPN's NBA Today

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April 13, 2022
Online Originals

My Seven Shows: Malika Andrews

The host of ESPN's NBA Today shares her top TV shows.

If accountants are frazzled during tax season, imagine how Malika Andrews feels on the cusp of the NBA playoffs.

As the host of NBA Today on ESPN, she's live every afternoon at 3 p.m. ET to breathlessly detail all the league's news. Then she likes to head out to a game at Arena (formerly The Staples Center) in Los Angeles to gather intel from the ground. "I try to go to as many games as possible now and not just be in this ivory tower of a studio," she explains. Andrews arrives home around eleven, rises at six and does it all over again.

She wouldn't have it any other way: "It's a busy time, but it's a fun time. It's actually the best time of the year. This and Christmas!"

Though only twenty-seven, Andrews is a veteran at covering the sport she grew up watching obsessively with her dad in Oakland, California. She started on the print side at The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune before moving to to report on the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Armed with encyclopedic basketball knowledge and impressive poise, she soon made on-camera appearances and by 2021, was on the sidelines for the NBA Finals on ABC.

Her hosting era began in October with the revamped NBA Today. "It was a little scary to transition at first and I still find myself leaning on my reporting background," she says. "But I'm very proud of the show we're building because we're really catching a rhythm."

Hectic schedule aside, Andrews tries to watch everything from 60 Minutes to Inventing Anna. But at the end of the day, she just needs her Friends. Now, for, she picks her top seven shows.

  • Sex and the City (HBO, 1998–2004)
    Maybe the show doesn't seem so shocking now. But these were bold female characters that I'd never seen before on TV. And the way they could make it in New York City just living out loud their way was striking to me. I loved Samantha Jones [played by Kim Cattrall]! Honestly, I think these women were part of the reason why I wanted to move to New York and stayed there for five years. And the fact that it still replays all the time shows its staying power.

  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC, 1999–)
    I fell in love with this show because of Olivia Benson [played by Mariska Hargitay]. I think most women have some story of harassment or assault, and I'm no different. And the stark contrast of this reality with Olivia inherently believing women is something that I've found comforting. I love that women actually reach out to Mariska Hargitay, and she shows so much care to this cause with her charity [the Joyful Heart Foundation]. That is awesome.

  • Inside the NBA (TNT, 1989–)
    This is the standard bearer of all NBA studio shows, and it's heavily influenced what I do. I remember when Shaquille O'Neal joined Chuck [Charles Barkley], Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson and I was like, "Oh, is he going to stick?" And he did great. They're so good as a quartet and funny and quick. Like, you literally want to talk to the guys when you're sitting in your living room! The fact that it's been running for so long makes me wonder how our show can achieve that same kind of run.

  • SportsCenter (ESPN, 1979–)
    It's a flagship! If you make the sound "da-da-da, da-da-da," everyone will know it. The Top Ten plays? That started organically. That's what you want, right? Stuart Scott was my favorite anchor because he made flavor cool before flavor was accepted. It used to be some guy going, "The Knicks scored twenty-five points in this quarter. . ." He loosened his tie and made the job fun. I also learned a lot from watching Hannah Storm. She's what a SportsCenter anchor should be.

  • Good Morning America (ABC, 1975–)
    There's something happy about this show even when the news isn't happy. I watched it when Diane Sawyer was on and George Stephanopoulos has been a staple for a while, but I became personally invested when Robin Roberts became a co-anchor. She does such a good job humanizing herself but not inserting herself in the story. That balance is very special. She was a SportsCenter anchor and made a flawless transition to news, which meant that sports were no longer seen as this little brother or sister.

  • Friends (NBC, 1994–2004)
    I know people who are like, "It's too vanilla, it's too boring, it's too white." That last one is valid. But watching the reunion last year made me realize what a cultural trendsetter it became. Not to mention that it gave us Jennifer Aniston! I watched it initially with my cousin who had all ten seasons of the show on DVD, and it was so fun and new. Now I like to watch it before I fall asleep because it's comforting and not some undertaking. Each episode is only 20 minutes long!

  • Family Feud (Syndicated, 1976–)
    My pandemic experience was sitting on the floor doing puzzles, pouring a glass of wine and watching Family Feud. Now I will record it off my cable TV — not find it on some app — and watch over the weekend. I'm not a passive watcher, either. There's actually a debate in our newsroom as to who would make the cut for our five if we were to play. I want to do Fast Money with Steve Harvey and see if I'd be as good in the studio as I am on my couch.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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