ESPN is making some changes to “NBA Countdown” heading into the playoffs.
The network announced Tuesday that Michelle Beadle will be a full-time host of “NBA Countdown” on ESPN and ABC and will host the studio coverage on both networks throughout the playoffs, including the NBA Finals. Beadle had been sharing hosting duties with Sage Steele up until the announcement.
“The only thing better than working for Connor Schell and Kevin Wildes is being able to spend each day with all of the incredibly talented people at ‘NBA Countdown’ and ‘SportsNation,’ ” Beadle said in a statement. “It’s the best job in sports. Did I mention that Kawhi Leonard is the MVP of the league?”
It seems that would mean Steele’s tenure on the pregame and halftime show is over, but it’s unlikely she’s going anywhere, as she signed a multiyear deal with ESPN in September. It’s an interesting development, though, considering Steele’s politics have drawn criticism recently.
Steele came under fire in September when she ripped Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for protesting during the national anthem. She received similar backlash when she criticized those protesting Donald Trump’s travel ban at LAX because she missed her flight.
However, it does seem unlikely this was a political choice, as Steele still has a prominent presence at ESPN outside of “NBA Countdown.” Not to mention, as the host of “SportsNation,” for which fans choose the topics on the show, Beadle has a closer connection to ESPN viewers.
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images