ESPN Tips Off its 20th NBA Season with Full Court Press for “Premiere Week”

  • Lisa Salters Rejoins Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson as Sideline Reporter for NBA Finals, Marquee Games throughout Season Including Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks October 20
  • NBA Today Hosted by Malika Andrews Launches, New NBA Countdown Team Debuts, Hoop Streams with Cassidy Hubbarth Returns
  • Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Famer Hubie Brown Begins 50th NBA Season
  • Senior NBA Analyst Jay Williams to Appear Across ESPN Platforms

ESPN’s 20th season of NBA coverage begins the week of October 18 with a full-court press for a jam-packed “premiere week” as the league’s 75th Anniversary Season gets underway. ESPN will provide wall-to-wall, cross-platform coverage all week long surrounding its live game telecasts on Wednesday, Oct. 20, and Friday, Oct. 22. For ESPN’s 2021-22 NBA game schedule, visit ESPN Press Room. ESPN’s season-opening game schedule and commentator assignments are below:

Date Time (ET) Game Commentators Platform(s)
Wed, Oct 20 7:30 p.m. Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Lisa Salters ESPN, ESPN App
10 p.m. Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns Mark Jones, Richard Jefferson ESPN, ESPN App
Fri, Oct 22 7:30 p.m. Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Cassidy Hubbarth ESPN, ESPN App
10 p.m. Phoenix Suns vs.

Los Angeles Lakers

Ryan Ruocco, Doris Burke ESPN, ESPN App

*ESPN’s season-opening game coverage is presented by State Farm as part of AT&T 5G Opening Week.

ESPN game commentators
Mike Breen, the voice of the NBA Finals and Curt Gowdy Media Award-winner, and analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson return to call ESPN’s first NBA game of the season on Wednesday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m. ET as the Boston Celtics visit the New York Knicks. The trio have set records both collectively and individually as the most prolific voices of the NBA Finals and will be together for the top games during the regular season and NBA Playoffs. ESPN recently re-signed Jeff Van Gundy with a new, multi-year agreement and has all three commentators signed long-term. Lisa Salters will rejoin the trio as ESPN’s lead sideline reporter for its coverage of the NBA Finals, Conference Finals, NBA Playoffs, NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC presented by Oculus from Facebook series and NBA Christmas Day presented by State Farm games.

Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Famer Hubie Brown will begin his 50th season in the NBA between coaching and broadcasting. The legendary Brown returns for his 17th consecutive season as an ESPN NBA game analyst. Another Hall-of-Famer, Doris Burke, who is a Curt Gowdy Media Award-winner, returns to ESPN for game coverage throughout the season. Van Gundy, Jackson, Brown and Burke lead ESPN’s deep roster of game analysts, which will also include Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter this season. In addition to Breen, Mark Jones, Dave Pasch and Ryan Ruocco, who return as ESPN’s core play-by-play broadcasters, Brian Custer and Beth Mowins will call the action for select games. ESPN sideline reporters include Salters, Cassidy Hubbarth, Malika Andrews, Jorge Sedano, Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Katie George. ESPN NBA game commentators will appear on site, health and safety permitting.

Jay Williams adds multi-platform NBA role
Jay Williams will add to his multi-platform ESPN role, beginning with “premiere week.” The former Duke standout will serve as senior NBA analyst and appear regularly across ESPN studio programming, including Get Up, First Take and SportsCenter. Williams will continue his role on ESPN Radio’s national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson and Max Kellerman.

New NBA Countdown team debuts
ESPN recently announced its new NBA Countdown team, featuring high-profile analysts Stephen A. Smith, Curt Gowdy Media Award-winner Michael Wilbon, Jalen Rose, and host Mike Greenberg. The quartet will also be joined frequently by Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The team will make its debut live from Madison Square Garden ahead of the Celtics vs. Knicks game on Wednesday, October 20, at 7 p.m. during ESPN’s first night of regular season coverage. There will also be on-site updates within the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter leading into NBA Countdown. The show will generally emanate from ESPN’s Seaport District Studios in New York, N.Y. with select shows coming from ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center.

The team of Kendrick Perkins, Richard Jefferson, Chiney Ogwumike and Michael Eaves will handle responsibilities for the Wednesday editions of NBA Countdown in February once ESPN’s NBA on ABC package is underway. NBA Countdown on ESPN is presented by Mountain Dew. For more information on ESPN’s new NBA Countdown approach, visit ESPN Press Room.

NBA Today Launches
As recently announced, ESPN’s new, weekday afternoon studio show NBA Today will debut during “premiere week.” NBA Today is hosted by Malika Andrews and will emanate from ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center at L.A. Live. The show makes its debut on Monday, October 18, on ESPN2 and will make its ESPN debut on Tuesday, October 19, in conjunction with the first day of the NBA regular season. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is scheduled to join the NBA Today team on Tuesday, October 19 for an interview to tip off the league’s 75th Anniversary Season. Zach LaVine is slated for Wednesday and Damian Lillard is scheduled for Thursday. Also on Wednesday, October 20, NBA Today will reveal 25 members of the NBA 75 list of all-time greatest players.

NBA Today airs live from 3-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and will travel to the site of marquee live events during the season and postseason. Analysts Richard Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins, Chiney Ogwumike and Vince Carter and reporters Adrian Wojnarowski, Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne will round out the cast of NBA Today. For more on NBA Today, visit ESPN Press Room.

Hoop Streams is back
Hoop Streams, ESPN’s digital NBA pre-game show, will return for its third season. Hoop Streams precedes marquee NBA games on ESPN and ABC throughout the regular season and postseason. Hoop Streams, hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth, will make its season debut during “premiere week” leading into ESPN’s first night of NBA game coverage on Wednesday, October 18, starting at approximately 6:30 p.m. The show is available on the ESPN App, and ESPN’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube platforms. Hoop Streams previews the game action and provides expert commentary from analysts and reporters on the most compelling stories in the league.

ESPN senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski leads a versatile team of reporters providing breaking news coverage across ESPN platforms. Wojnarowski will regularly appear on NBA Today, NBA Countdown, SportsCenter and other platforms contributing news and context. ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne and The Undefeated’s Marc Spears will also regularly contribute to ESPN’s studio programming during “premiere week.”
On Monday, Oct. 18, Senior NBA Writer Zach Lowe will spotlight the five most intriguing players to watch this season. Then, will outline the season outlook for all 30 teams in its opening night Power Ranking, projecting the highs and lows for contenders and lottery-bound teams alike.

Later in the week, Senior NBA Writer Brian Windhorst examines four title aspirants seemingly stuck in suspended animation – the Sixers, Nets, Clippers and Nuggets – and how they are navigating ambition with reality. In addition, as LeBron James embarks on season 19, charts all of the milestones within reach for the multi-time champion and MVP.

The NBA on ESPN Brand Marketing team’s goal for the 2021-22 NBA season is to implement a custom music strategy to story tell key moments, further embed culture into ESPN’s NBA platform and get fans excited for weekly matchups. The team partnered with music label EMPIRE, to remix ‘Say Go’ by rapper D ‘Smoke for the opening week topical and is also scheduled to release a custom song and social hype video with rapper Money Man.


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? Jayhawks to Host Cowboys on ESPN Big Monday, Feb. 8 – Kansas Jayhawks

LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 23/22 Kansas returns home to host No. rv/24 Oklahoma State (12-5, 5-5) on ESPN Big Monday, Feb. 8. The game will begin at 8 p.m. (CT).

Kansas is 8-1 in Allen Fieldhouse this season. KU is coming off a 91-79 loss at No. 17/18 West Virginia on Feb. 6. Oklahoma State has won three of its last four games after its 75-67 double overtime win against No. 6/6 Texas on Feb. 6.

The Kansas-Oklahoma State series dates back to 1926 with KU holding a 118-60 all-time advantage. KU holds an 8-5 edge in the last 13 meetings. KU is 64-12 against OSU in meetings in Lawrence, including a 49-10 record in Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas Notables

  • Kansas is No. 4 in NET nationally in strength of schedule, which is first in the Big 12.
  • To show how tough the Big 12 is, Kansas’ NET is No. 27 among the 357 NCAA Division I teams, which is sixth in the conference.
  • Kansas’ 10 Quadrant 1 games played in 2020-21 tie for the most in the Big 12 and tie for fifth most nationally. Kansas is 3-7 versus Quadrant 1 teams, 3-0 vs. Q2, 1-0 vs. Q3, 4-0 vs. Q4.
  • Oklahoma State will be the 10th ranked team Kansas will face in 2020-21. KU is 4-5 versus ranked foes this season with two wins versus top-10 opponents. Note: OSU is No. 24 in the coaches’ poll.
  • Five of Kansas’ seven losses have been to ranked teams and the other two losses are to teams that have moved into the top 25 of either the Associated Press or Coaches’ polls (at Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State).
  • Six of Kansas’ losses have been away from Allen Fieldhouse with five of those being true road contests.
  • Redshirt-freshman forward Jalen Wilson ranks fourth in the Big 12 in rebounding at 7.4 boards per game which is second among league freshman. His four double-doubles are tied for second overall in the Big 12.
  • Junior David McCormack is averaging 16.8 points in his last four games. He too has four double-doubles this season.
  • Junior guard Ochai Agbaji continues to rank second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made (2.6) and 3-point field goal percentage (39.5%).
  • With the consecutive weeks being ranked at 231, which is an NCAA record, a streak which started Feb. 2, 2009. The streak has consisted of 433 games.
  • This season, Kansas men’s basketball will be wearing a patch that reads “UNITED WE STAND” signifying its stance on the recent social injustice in the United States. The patch has gold lettering with the black background being in the shape of the state of Kansas.

Up Next

Kansas continues its two-game home stand when it hosts Iowa State on Thursday, Feb. 11 on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+, at 7 p.m. (Central). This game was originally scheduled Jan. 16 but was postponed due to Iowa State COVID 19 protocol. Two days later, KU will travel to Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m. on ABC.

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MEAC Announces 2021 ESPN Basketball TV Schedule

NORFOLK, Va., Dec. 15, 2020 – Four regular-season match-ups and two tournament championship games will be on ESPN networks in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s (MEAC) 2021 basketball TV schedule.


The slate tips off on Monday, Jan. 4, when highly-touted freshman Makur Maker and Howard travel to Norfolk, Va., to take on Norfolk State at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Saturday, Jan. 23, will see a 12 p.m. ESPNU tip-off for the rivalry between North Carolina A&T State and North Carolina Central in Durham, N.C.


The three-time defending MEAC Tournament champion Eagles of NCCU will head to Washington, D.C. on Monday, Feb. 1 to take on Howard at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.


The slate wraps up on Monday, Feb. 8, when Morgan State makes the short trek to Howard for a 7 p.m. ESPNU tip.


All games on ESPN networks are available to stream on the ESPN App, which is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.


The men’s and women’s championship games of the 2021 MEAC Basketball Tournament will be live on ESPN Networks, with specific network designations determined later in the season.


In addition, there will be 20 games aired on ESPN’s digital platforms.

2021 MEAC ESPN Men’s Basketball Schedule

Monday, Jan. 4: Howard at Norfolk State, 7 p.m. on ESPNU

Saturday, Jan. 23: North Carolina A&T State at North Carolina Central, 12 p.m. on ESPNU

Monday, Feb. 1: North Carolina Central at Howard, 9 p.m. on ESPN2

Monday, Feb. 8: Morgan State at Howard, 7 p.m. on ESPNU



About the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) celebrates its 50th year of intercollegiate competition with the 2020-21 academic school year. Located in Norfolk, Va., the MEAC is made up of 11 outstanding historically black institutions across the Atlantic coastline: Bethune-Cookman University, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and South Carolina State University.


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