With the start of the NBA regular season just 12 days away, it’s an opportune time to re-set the line-up for Kia NBA Countdown – ESPN and ABC’s NBA pre-game show.
Returning to the Countdown quartet are NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson (@MagicJohnson) and ESPN’s Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon). Joining the duo for the show’s lively roundtable format will be ESPN columnist Bill Simmons (@SportsGuy33) and ESPN analyst Jalen Rose (@JalenRose).
The foursome will debut Friday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. ET during a special one-hour pre-game telecast, preceding ESPN’s season-opening doubleheader: Miami Heat/N.Y. Knicks at 8 p.m.; L.A. Clippers/L.A. Lakers at 10:30 p.m.
“I think the four of us will be able to have good conversations,” Simmons said. “We’re all going to say what we’re thinking. I’m better playing off other people and I think Jalen is the same way and I know Magic is the same way — all four of us can do that. At the same time we want the show to have a level of sophistication.”
Rose is similarly energized for the opportunity.
“I’m very excited about this,” Rose said. “I welcome the opportunity to work with my childhood idol, Magic Johnson. We all want to have on the tuxedo and white shirt on Emmy night.”
“The unique, diverse perspectives of our new commentator team fit perfectly with the show’s free-flowing format,” said ESPN Senior Vice President and Executive Producer, Mark Gross. “Bill brings a deep knowledge of the league past and present, an entertaining style and an ability to articulate his inventive thoughts from a fan’s point of view. Jalen’s lengthy playing experience and his strong, informed opinions will give fans great insight into how and why things happen on the court. They join a team that includes one of the greatest players of all time and one of our most versatile and engaging commentators.”
In addition, Jon Barry will transition to game analysis with regular assignments throughout the season, beginning Friday, Nov. 9, at 10:30 p.m. for the Utah Jazz at the Denver Nuggets. Chris Broussard will continue to serve as ESPN NBA Insider for SportsCenter and other news and information programming. Broussard will also serve as reporter for ESPN’s game coverage, beginning Friday, Nov. 2, at 10:30 p.m. for Clippers/Lakers.