ESPN is still figuring out who will replace them in the booth as the network’s “A” team for NBA games, with Doris Burke and Doc Rivers considered top candidates.
JJ Redick, the former sharpshooter who joined ESPN as an analyst in 2021 shortly after his NBA retirement, believes next season’s NBA broadcasts on ESPN and ABC will “be a little weird.” He spoke to Front Office Sports while appearing at a basketball camp in The Hamptons organized by The Program, a startup looking to revive New York City’s youth basketball structure.
“It’s going to be a little weird, for sure. I felt like Mark and Jeff and Mike is just such an iconic team. And they’ve been on the call for so many historic moments, at least historic moments in my generation. So It’s gonna be weird,” Redick told Front Office Sports. “I think any time something like this happens, we made cuts in March that were sort of off-air talents on the production side, I just feel for the people and wish them the best. It sucks. It’s my first time in this world going through this cycle, it hurts to see people you work with and care about lose their jobs. Most of them will be fine.”
Redick is an investor in The Program alongside New York-born basketball legends Carmelo Anthony and Chris Mullin. The Program aims to raise scholarships for youth to attend its NYC basketball development facility opening next year with the goal of keeping the city’s best players from transferring to out-of-state prep schools. Redick is connected with The Program’s founders, Jared Effron and Griffin Taylor.
“There have been a lot of historic AAU programs in New York City — Riverside Church, the Gauchos — but in terms of a development program and youth center with coaching and hopefully one day a school, I think it’s needed,” Redick told FOS. “I think it’s also for me personally another opportunity to give back to the sport I love so much.”
Redick himself is in the running to join Breen in ESPN’s top booth next season and his goal is to be on the call more than his 25-game slate last year. Jalen Rose was another longtime NBA analyst laid off by ESPN in June, and the network is also unlikely to renew the contract of former NBA star Vince Carter.
“I called 25 games last year, so that’s in my contract and ultimately probably where I want to spend the majority of my time,” Redick said. “But right now, I’m happy to do ‘First Take’ and call games.”
Redick regularly appears on Stephen A. Smith’s debate show alongside fellow NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins. “First Take” also lost Max Kellerman to layoffs, and former NFL star and Fox Sports talent Shannon Sharpe has had discussions with ESPN to potentially join the show.
“It’s great,” Redick says of ‘First Take.’ “I get paid to argue with two really smart and entertaining guys. At the end of the day, we’re just mostly arguing about basketball.”