Rachel Nichols has established herself as one of the best in the business of sports media. Not only is Nichols a tremendous writer, but she’s also a top reporter and anchor. Now in her second stint at ESPN, Nichols has also shown she can be tough, asking those difficult questions. That was evident back in 2015 when Nichols confronted undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather regarding his domestic violence charges.
Nichols began as a local sports reporter
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Rachel Nichols began her career in the sports media world as a sportswriter for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. At the time, she was writing under her maiden name of Rachel Alexander. She then went on to work for The Washington Post, covering the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
Nichols got married in 2001 and three years later she left The Washington Post to work for ESPN. At ESPN, she became a regular on SportsCenter and was involved in the network’s NFL and NBA coverage. Nichols left ESPN in 2013 and went to work for CNN.
At CNN, Nichols hosted her show Unguarded with Rachel Nichols. During this time, Nichols was also working for NBA on TNT as a sideline reporter. In 2016, Nichols went back to work for ESPN, where she hosts The Jump, a program Sports Illustrated labeled as “TV’s smartest basketball show.”
Tracy McGrady on Rachel Nichols: ‘She knows her s–t’
ESPN’s The Jump, hosted by Rachel Nichols has become a wildly popular basketball show. It’s a discussion show that features folks well-versed in the NBA. “We’re not tied to any game, we don’t have to be a pregame show or a postgame show, we can just have a conversation about basketball,” Nichols said, according to Sports Illustrated. “I am never trying to be doing glossy TV. We interrupt each other on our show, we have our warts and all. We are not presentation television.”
NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady has been a part of the show. He said he never wanted to be involved in television, but turning down Nichols’ request to come aboard was tough to do. McGrady was drawn in because of Nichols’ knowledge of the game.
“I had no interest in doing TV,” McGrady said. “But I couldn’t turn it down when Rachel Nichols called my name. When I was first sitting at the table with Rachel doing the show, I was a little intimidated. She knows her s–t. She’s very knowledgeable.”
Nichols confronts Floyd Mayweather
Back when Rachel Nichols was working at CNN on her Unguarded with Rachel Nichols show, she interviewed boxer Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather had an upcoming fight with Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather, who had been charged in multiple domestic violence cases, was grilled by Nichols. The interview came one year after former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was seen on video beating his girlfriend in an elevator.
She asked Mayweather to clarify comments he made about Rice’s initial two-game punishment and the boxer dodged the question, saying he wanted to focus on the upcoming fight. “OK, but you are someone with a history of domestic violence yourself – you’ve even been to jail for it – why should fans root for you? she asked.” Mayweather said nothing had been proven and it was all allegations, “so that’s life,” he said.
Nichols pressed on, stressing the mother of his kids showed bruises and Mayweather’s own kids called the police on him. Mayweather was the fighter backed into a corner, saying “everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.” Before the fight, Nichols wrote on Twitter that she had her credential to the fight blocked by Mayweather’s team. If anyone ever says Mayweather is unbeaten, they’re wrong. Rachel Nichols won this one.