The Ringer Bolsters NBA Coverage with Jackie MacMullan Hire

    • MacMullan is set to debut on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” Sept. 17.
    • The Ringer has recently faced criticism for its lack of gender and racial diversity.

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Sports and pop culture outlet The Ringer is bringing on acclaimed NBA writer Jackie MacMullan. She’ll make her debut as a staffer on the Sept. 17 episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” the outlet’s flagship show. 

MacMullan — like much of The Ringer’s staff under Simmons — has Boston roots. She began her professional career as an intern at the Boston Globe in 1982 and was named the paper’s first female columnist in 2002. She remained on staff at the Globe into early 2008, after which she began freelancing.

From 1995-2000, she also covered the NBA as a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. Over the last two decades, MacMullan has co-authored multiple books in collaboration with NBA players, including Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal.

MacMullan, 59, has written for ESPN’s various properties since joining ESPN Boston in 2010. She has also been a regular panelist on ESPN’s “Around the Horn” — making more than 700 appearances — and made appearances on the gamut of ESPN’s other shows. 

She has also signed a multi-year extension with ESPN, according to an announcement from the media company.

In 2010, she became the first — and still only — female recipient of the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2019, MacMullan received the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing, again the first female recognized with the honor, and was selected for The Association for Women in Sports Media’s highest honor the same year.

MacMullan previously appeared on “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” in a May 2019 episode called “NBA Then and Now With Jackie MacMullan.” According to The Sports Business Journal, MacMullan will host her own narrative podcast and make appearances on others, including “The Book of Basketball,” “The Ringer NBA Show” and “The Ryen Russillo Podcast.”

The Ringer, which was bought by Spotify for about $200 million in February, has recently faced criticism from both internal and external parties over its lack of gender and racial diversity throughout all aspects of its operation. Its employees also recently unionized and are in negotiations for higher pay, equity and transparency within the company. 

This isn’t the only splashy hire The Ringer has made in recent months, including former MLB All-Star CC Sabathia and former NBA player Raja Bell in July. Former NFL player Ryan Shazier was also announced as a new hire last week, on the day he retired, as well as NFL betting analyst Warren Sharp and broadcaster Cole Wright. 

Over the summer, the company also added former New England Patriots beat writer at the Boston Globe Nora Princiotti and Kaelen Jones — formerly of The Athletic — to bolster NFL coverage, and former NBC Sports Golden State Warriors reporter Logan Murdock.