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ESPN's Malika Andrews. Photo: Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images

Malika Andrews' meteoric rise began in the NBA bubble, where she was ESPN's lead reporter at just 25 years old. 16 months later, she finds herself anchoring ESPN's daily show, "NBA Today."

What's happening: Axios spoke with Andrews about her bubble experience, the transition from sideline to studio, and what it's like working with the "NBA Today" family.

What's the transition from reporter to anchor been like?

I'm a worrier and a perfectionist, and live television is like the antithesis of that, so it's been an interesting sort of push-pull of what I forgive myself for and what I don't. But it's been fun. I have a whole newfound respect for anyone who has hosted a five-day-a-week show.
One of the biggest adjustments has been the schedule. I used to be up late after games, and now my schedule's flip-flopped because we start getting ready for the show at 6am.

What's it like covering the NBA through the lens of an hour-long daily show? It's a bit like a reality show sometimes, is it not?

Covering the NBA is about covering people. I think that's why it's sometimes compared to a reality show — because you actually get the chance to know the characters, not just the teams.
That's why it's so important to go to games and really invest time in the league and its people. That's the foundation of covering the NBA — relationships.

Looking back on the NBA bubble: What was that experience like living alongside the teams you were covering?

I look back at the bubble as a net positive. Maybe it's because of how my career continued to go from there. Maybe it's because I got to cover things that aren't often the central focus in sports. But going through that experience [with the players] created a different sort of trust.
Also — and I'm not proud of this — it was my first Disney Park experience! I grew up in California, I'm a Disney employee, and I have never been to a park, outside of living in one for 107 days. So now I'm on a mission to go for real.

Working on a daily TV show is a bit like being in a family. What's the "NBA Today" dynamic like?

It's definitely like a family. Our producer brought bagels today, I brought cookies. We have a family dinner tomorrow night. And that's what makes it fun — we all really enjoy being around each other.
Richard [Jefferson] is like the sarcastic uncle of the group, Perk [Kendrick Perkins] is the good time that just makes you laugh. Zach [Lowe] is like your grumpy second-cousin, Ramona [Shelburne] is the chatterbox aunt, Chiney [Ogwumike] is the cousin who everyone wants to be friends with because she's the coolest.
And I'm the mom that's like, "All right, everybody, make sure you buckle your seatbelt! Get some greens on the side! Kendrick, you can't just have pasta salad."

Go deeper

Dec 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

Disney, Google strike a deal following brief YouTube TV blackout

Photo illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Disney on Sunday said it finally struck a distribution deal with Google, a day after its channels went dark on YouTube TV.

Why it matters: The blackout, if prolonged, would've resulted in one of the most disruptive on YouTube TV ever.

Updated Dec 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

NBA reschedules 5 more games due to COVID spike

Utah Jazz's Joe Ingles, front, passes the ball off under pressure from Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal in their game Dec. 18 at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. Photo: Chris Gardner/Getty Images

The NBA on Sunday announced it has postponed five games in response to a surge in coronavirus cases, largely driven by the Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The new strain has rocked the sports world, forcing numerous postponements and adjustments to safety protocols as the leagues scramble to contain the rapid spread of the virus.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbers

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Two new Biden administration initiatives — mailing at-home COVID-19 tests to those who ask and making free N95 masks available — are hugely popular, each backed by 84% of Americans in the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Yes, but: Those who may need these most — the unvaccinated — are less likely to take advantage of the offerings, the survey found. And neither has boosted President Biden's numbers so far, meaning it's too little too late, or too soon to see a change.