Mike Greenberg

With Maria Taylor at NBC and Rachel Nichols pulled from NBA work, ESPN needs a new host for their NBA Finals coverage next summer.

News came today that Malika Andrews is essentially replacing Nichols in October on a new daily NBA show that fills the void left when ESPN canceled The Jump. In addition to that, there was a report from Anderw Marchand in the New York Post’s SportsClicker newsletter ($) that there are multiple candidates for the Finals hosting gig, including Mike Greenberg.

According to Marchand, Greenberg is one of a few candidates, including Elle Duncan and Cassidy Hubbarth. Presumably there are more names as well, though Greenberg has always sort of functioned as ESPN’s utility host, popping up in places when there’s a new vacancy. That included his work this year on the NFL Draft replacing the outgoing Trey Wingo.

And if Greenberg wants the gig, it makes sense that his name would, say, start popping up in reports like this. It’s similar to when Adam Schefter’s name came up as a possible third host for the new ManningCast; considering ESPN and Peyton’s production company ended up going without a permanent third host at all, it’s obvious that not everything reported is revealing of the network’s thinking. (That’s not disparaging any media reporters, either, of course. It’s just important to remember that if a name is out there, it’s usually out there for a reason.)

Of course, there’s a pretty big reason why Greenberg would be a surprising choice for ESPN here. Yes, he’s hosted NFL Draft coverage, and he has a daily presence hosting Get Up, and he’s been a longtime face of the network across multiple platforms. But it’s important to remember why this vacancy exists. After the PR disaster this past summer, with one Taylor leaving the network after it was revealed Nichols had accused ESPN of giving Taylor hosting duties because Taylor is Black and Nichols is not, handing that gig to a white dude would set ESPN up for a massive (and, to be honest, fairly justified) backlash.

Considering Greenberg has plenty of other opportunities and ESPN has many qualified candidates, it’s hard to see him ending up on that stage next summer, though stranger things have happened.

[NYP SportsClicker]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.