Viewers of last night’s (July 20) NBA Finals telecast on ESPN (July 20) witnessed Maria Taylor’s final assignment as her contract with the network has officially come to an end. On Wednesday (July 21), the sports channel issued a statement announcing the broadcaster’s departure from the company.
“Maria’s remarkable success speaks directly to her abilities and work ethic. There is no doubt we will miss Maria, but we remain determined to continue to build a deep and skilled talent roster that thoroughly reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve,” said ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro. “While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we’ve done together.”
As REVOLT previously reported, Taylor is likely to head to NBC, where she will cover the Tokyo Olympics. Per the New York Post, she may also discuss football either via coverage of Notre Dame football or as a host on a pre-game show titled “Football Night in America.” Though she hasn’t yet announced her next endeavor, she thanked her colleagues at ESPN for playing an important role in her broadcast journey and promised to “make them proud.”
“So thankful to Jimmy and all of my great teammates and friends at the SEC Network, ‘College GameDay’, Women’s and Men’s college basketball and the ‘NBA Countdown’ family — the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me and lifted me up,” Taylor said a statement on Wednesday. “Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud.”
Taylor’s ESPN exit comes after her colleague Rachel Nichols made racist remarks about her during a phone call with LeBron James’ spokesperson Adam Mendelsohn. During the conversation, Nichols complained about Taylor getting the opportunity to host ESPN’s coverage of the 2020 NBA Finals, and said that she only got the job because the network was “feeling pressure” to make up for their “crappy longtime record on diversity.” She later apologized for her statements, and her NBA Finals sideline reporting duties were taken over by Malika Andrews, who was praised for her impressive coverage following the Milwaukee Bucks’ championship win.