ESPN’s Malika Andrews Might Be Young, but Don’t Use That Against Her Because She Doesn’t Care

ESPN found a very talented reporter in Malika Andrews, and the Worldwide Leader has understandably made her a focal point of its NBA coverage.

Andrews, as viewers will quickly notice, is very young. Although she only turned 26 in January 2021, she has nonetheless become a rising star at ESPN — and don’t even think about using her age against her, because she doesn’t want to hear it.

ESPN reporter Malika Andrews doesn’t care about her age

ESPN reporter Malika Andrews in 2020.
ESPN reporter Malika Andrews is only 26 years old, but she doesn’t want you to use her age against her | Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

A 2017 graduate from the University of Portland, Malika Andrews primarily works as an NBA analyst and reporter. Before joining ESPN in October 2018, she’d worked at the Chicago Tribune and interned at other companies.

Andrews has already accomplished a great deal in her time at ESPN, and it is even more impressive when her age is considered. She turned 26 in January 2021 — Michael Jordan was still a member of the Chicago White Sox when she was born — and has already developed a large following.

Although Andrews is young, that is the least of her concerns. In a recent interview with The Athletic, she said she doesn’t approach her job with her age in mind.

“There may be people who use my age as a positive and others as a drawback, but I can’t worry about that. I just try to focus on telling the best and most impactful stories that can delight and surprise our viewers and readers — and perhaps even challenge them to see something from a different perspective.”

Malika Andrews

ESPN clearly took that approach when they hired her at 23 years old, and the network hasn’t backed down from giving her opportunities to shine.

ESPN has made Andrews a vital part of the network’s NBA coverage

Few will argue that ESPN has problems, including an over-reliance on Stephen A. Smith’s hot takes. At the same time, it also isn’t disputed that the Worldwide Leader still has an eye for talent.

ESPN’s decision to hire Andrews and make her a major part of the company’s NBA coverage has already paid off. As of publication, she had over 130,000 followers on Twitter and regularly appeared on ESPN shows, including Get Up and SportsCenter.

With how much airtime ESPN dedicates to the NBA, viewers should expect to continue seeing Andrews on their screen. It will be interesting to see if the network gives her increased opportunities in other roles, including college football or the NFL, when the NBA is not in-season.

The next generation of sports media stars includes some young faces

Andrews isn’t the only young, rising star in sports media right now.

The Sports Emmys included her among the five nominees for the Outstanding Sports Personality-Emerging On-Air Talent. The other four nominees — Big Ten Network’s Joshua Perry, FS1’s Emmanuel Acho, Fox Sports’ Joe Davis, and NFL Network’s Andrew Hawkins — are all 35 years old or younger.

Elsewhere at ESPN, Mina Kimes, who turns 36 in September 2021, has developed a cult following. The Worldwide Leader even promoted her to a full-time analyst role on NFL Live in 2020 despite her never playing professional football.

The older names in sports media will only be around for so long. Stephen A. Smith is 53, and Skip Bayless, his former First Take running mate, turns 70 in December. Andrews is a bright face for the next generation of analysts and reporters.

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