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Saturday, June 22, 2024

It’s Official: Doris Burke Joins ESPN’s No. 1 NBA Announce Team

  • Trailblazing Burke to make history as first woman to call major men’s championship.
  • Doc Rivers and Bob Myers are also joining revamped NBA coverage team.
Doris Burke
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN unveiled its revamped NBA coverage team for the 2023-2024 season on Monday.

As expected, game analyst Doris Burke will make sports TV history as the first female to call a major men’s championship in the U.S.

Also, as expected, former NBA coach Doc Rivers and Golden State Warriors executive Bob Myers are joining ESPN’s coverage team.  And rising star J.J Redick will get his wish to call a slate of games. 

The stakes are high.

ESPN took the almost unprecedented step of dropping half of its longtime No. 1 announce team, laying off Jeff Van Gundy, and letting go of Mark Jackson. 

The only returning members of the last NBA Finals coverage team on sister Disney network ABC will be play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

You could argue this is ESPN’s ride-or-die NBA announce team.

ESPN and TNT are set to tip off billion-dollar negotiations to retain their NBA rights. TV networks like ESPN select their announce teams with an eye toward pleasing their league partners. 

On a conference call, Dave Roberts, ESPN’s head of event and studio production, called Burke a “trail-blazer” who he believes will excel on the new No. 1 team.

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  • Burke, Rivers, Breen, and Salters will form ESPN/ABC’s new No. 1 team. They will call the NBA Finals, Eastern Conference Finals, NBA Playoffs, Christmas Day, and the NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC series. Burke has signed a multi-year extension to remain at ESPN. Rivers, who has signed a multi-year deal with ESPN, previously called the 2004 NBA Finals on ABC.
  • Myers, a two-time NBA executive of the year, will serve as an analyst on NBA Countdown on ABC and also call games. He will join Malika Andrews, Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon, and Adrian Wojnarowski on the new lead NBA Countdown team.
  • Redick, Ryan Ruocco, and Richard Jefferson will form a new broadcast team. The trio will form a “clear” No. 2 team, said Roberts. Both Redick and Jefferson were in contention for the No. 1 team, said sources.
  • Andrews will serve as the new host of NBA Countdown and lead all ESPN and ABC studio coverage. Roberts called her the “face” of ESPN NBA studio coverage.
  • Hubie Brown will enter his 20th season with ESPN and 50th in the NBA. Mark Jones, a 33-year veteran, and Dave Pasch will be back to call games this season.

Roberts is looking forward to seeing what his new No. 1 announce team can do this fall.

“Doris has proven herself as one of the top analysts covering the NBA for quite some time. I’m looking forward to seeing her and the chemistry she already has with Doc Rivers,” he said. “They’re close friends and they have a mutual respect for one another, both professionally and personally, and those are key ingredients to just having the kind of chemistry you have to have on any team.”

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