Malika Andrews

Reporter | NBA


Q&A with NBA Reporter Malika Andrews

Andrews, whose work appears across ESPN platforms including, SportsCenter, and ESPN Radio, made her debut as a sideline reporter during the 2019–20 season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, serving as a sideline reporter throughout the NBA Playoffs. Since joining ESPN in 2018, she has primarily covered the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, and Minnesota Timberwolves. Andrews has also worked for the Chicago Tribune. and was a James Reston Reporting Fellow at The New York Times. A native of Oakland, Calif., she earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Portland. She has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, National Association of Black Journalists, and Columbia Scholastic Press Association. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and sits on its Sports Task Force Scholarship Committee.

When people ask who was the star of last season’s NBA bubble, some people might answer Donovan Mitchell. Others, Jamal Murray. But the correct answer is … you. How has your career changed since then?

That is very kind. The bubble helped shape my current job. At the beginning of the 2020–21 season, our NBA editor Cristina Daglas worked to craft a role that included so many parts of ESPN—and a lot of it was based off that bubble role. A hybrid sideline reporter, feature writer, Nets beat reporter, SportsCenter reporter, and news role was created and I love it. The network gave me the opportunity to flex so many journalistic muscles in the bubble and I hope that gave folks around the company confidence in my ability to wear new hats. That is one of the privileges of working at ESPN: the chance to contribute to a variety of mediums. That element is really special. 

The panel you will be moderating is themed around “living your best life and reaching your potential in wellness.” Are there relevant lessons you learned or habits you picked up during your time in Orlando that have been transferable to life outside the bubble? And was being in the bubble—and during such a critical time in history—as taxing on your mental and physical health as I would imagine?

There were days it was taxing, absolutely. Achieving balance is so important—and what balance means to me may be different than what balance means for you. Truth be told, I am not sure I have achieved a wellness expert’s definition of optimal balance. Being in the bubble, my colleagues and I lived on a campus that was built to aid us in working safely—and working constantly. But as hard as we were working, the coverage felt important. It felt historic, and being a documenter of that history fueled us. I wanted to tell important stories and that meant working a lot. But it was such fulfilling work.

Women are so powerful. When we can lean on each other and uplift one another, we are unstoppable.

March is Women’s History Month, and your panel is being held in support of the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF). When I visited there a few years ago, I came home with a Billie Jean King bobblehead, and an even greater sense of the struggles, successes, and hard work still to be done, since King founded the WSF back in 1974. When you speak with athletes who are also activists, what do they tell you about their role, their power, and the stresses and pressures they are under?

Athletes are people. Every human struggle imaginable, chances are, there is an athlete who has gone through it: sexism, racism, financial struggles, grief, addiction, a health scare. More and more, athletes tell me, there seems to be a collective understanding that the platform they have and spotlight they command can be a privilege and a tool that many are unequivocally committed to using for good. The causes athletes (from across different sports) have rallied behind have varied, but a common thread has been equality. And that work can be exhausting, especially because positive change can be a maddeningly slow process.

Malika Andrews will be moderating The XX Project’s Power Women in Sports event on March 25, 2021.

Changing topics … a sideline reporter sounds like a job with a lot of travel. (That’s not a Euro-step joke. The Euro-step itself is a joke!) But seriously, how do you stick to your health and wellness routines when you’re on the road?

There’s room to improve, but I do my best. On the road, working out and getting in a power nap after taking early flights are fairly nonnegotiable. Emergen-C is a must. I try to build in time for all of those rituals. There is an analogy about juggling that I try to apply in my approach to wellness on the road and at home. There is a theory that every day, especially as women, we are juggling glass balls and plastic balls. What is glass and what is plastic may change. Some days when I’m on deadline, work is a glass ball. But family time, an appointment with a doctor, etc.—these are all balls you have in the air. Plastic balls you can afford to drop here and there and they won’t shatter. Glass balls will. So, every day you’re juggling and prioritizing which you can afford to drop and what must, no matter what, get done. It isn’t perfect, but it’s my approach and I’ve found that thinking helpful so that not everything is a must do in 17+ waking hours.

And finally, the panelists you will be appearing with are an extraordinary group—definitely power women in sports. What do you hope that you, and the audience, learn from them?

Women are so powerful. When we can lean on each other and uplift one another, we are unstoppable. These panelists are so impressive, inspiring, and accomplished—and in so many different ways. I hope our audience leaves feeling fulfilled and equipped with the tools to move mountains in their respective fields of work, because that’s what these women who we’ll be chatting with have done. I am excited to learn from these women alongside our audience.