Malika Andrews Credit: ESPN

Malika Andrews has risen quickly at ESPN and is currently anchoring NBA Countdown for the NBA Finals on ABC for the first time. In a new interview with People, Andrews revealed the painful details of her battle with mental illness as a teenager, and how she recovered over time.

In past interviews, Andrews chose not to discuss the time she spent away from her family in high school. Now, Andrews has detailed her challenges with eating disorders, self-harm, and more as a young woman.

Andrews recalled as early as age 12, struggling with racism and being an outsider at a predominantly white school in Oakland as well as disordered eating. She later entered therapy for depression and considered harming herself.

When she checked into the ER and an inpatient psychiatric unit, Andrews’ problems only intensified.

“I was clawing at ways to make sense of my anger,” she told People. “I didn’t know how to live in my own skin.”

Andrews’ family sent her to an outpatient wilderness therapy facility that put her to work outdoors, where she was forced to cook her own food and was restricted from alone time or access to items as inane as shoelaces. However, Andrews continued harming herself and purging food. The treatment did not help.

Andrews ultimately found comfort in horse riding, which she continues with today.

While Andrews slipped into another difficult stretch just before graduating college, losing considerable weight due to disordered eating and impacting her heart activity, she is healthier today.

“We talk about depression and recovery as a ‘before and after,’ something you overcome,” Andrews told People. “My experience is it’s something you contend with every single day. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, anger — they are shapeshifters that can grip and control you and just when you feel like you have a handle on one piece, another juts out to slice into your progress.”

Andrews has tackled challenging stories for ESPN, including covering the 2020 NBA Bubble in Orlando. This week, she scored an exclusive interview with Luka Dončić after her colleague Brian Windhorst excoriated the Dallas Mavericks star for losing his cool in Game 3 of the Finals.

But as she revealed to People, she has faced intense personal challenges of her own since a young age.

Andrews will host Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night for ABC and ESPN.


About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.