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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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NBA Draft Is Getting the NFL Draft Treatment From ESPN, ABC

  • ABC will lean into background storytelling of players compared to ESPN's analysis-focused broadcast.
  • Renaissance man Victor Wembanyama loves to draw, read as detailed in his interview with Robin Roberts.
ABC's broadcast will air Robin Roberts' full interview with Victor Wembanyama.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Robin Roberts’ interview with Victor Wembanyama — the NBA’s most-hyped prospect since LeBron James — airs Thursday night on ABC as part of its NBA Draft broadcast.

Separate broadcasts of Thursday’s first round will air on ABC and ESPN, a model that Disney has used for the past five years with its NFL Draft coverage. While ESPN’s NBA Draft broadcast will provide more team-fit and player analysis, ABC’s coverage will focus on storytelling and interviews with players and their families. 

“If I wasn’t a basketball player I think my second passion would be drawing,” the 7-foot-3 Wembanyama told Roberts. “When I got nothing to do, the first thing my mind thinks about is to grab a pencil and a sheet of paper. I [also] love reading before sleep.” 

“You’re a Renaissance Man, meaning that you can play your sport, but you also have this really sensitive soul,” Roberts said to Wembanyana at a cafe in France. 

“SportsCenter” anchor Kevin Negandhi will host ABC’s broadcast alongside Stephen A. Smith, which begins at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN’s broadcast will be helmed by Malika Andrews with contributions from analysts Jay Bilas and JJ Redick, reporters Andraya Carter and Monica McNutt, and insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks.

Adding to this year’s draft intrigue are a bevy of expected trades — Damian Lillard and Paul George are among the stars rumored to be shopped — as well as the proliferation of top picks from the G League Ignite (Scoot Henderson, Leonard Miller), Overtime Elite (twins Amen and Ausar Thompson), and IMG Academy (Jarace Walker, Keyonte George, and Jett Howard).

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