Rachel Nichols hired at Showtime after public ESPN exit

Former ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols has been hired at Showtime Basketball, the network said Friday, where she will work on content as a producer and a host.

The network said that Nichols will be on the basketball vertical and "contribute to multiple programs and projects from Showtime Basketball across multiple platforms."

Nichols left ESPN earlier this year after being in involved in controversy after an article appeared in The New York Times, when the newspaper obtained the recording of a phone conversation between Nichols and Adam Mendelsohn, longtime adviser of the Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. Nichols was in the bubble covering the NBA at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

In that conversation, Nichols praised co-worker Maria Taylor but also questioned her position at the network because of its record with diversity hires.

Taylor left ESPN as well and now works for NBC Sports.

"I’ve been so fortunate to live my dream job alongside some of the best journalists in the business for more than 25 years, and this new development deal with SHOWTIME Sports gives me my most broad playing field yet,” said Nichols in a statement.

“They’ve asked me to produce, create and host new sports programming across platforms, working alongside Hall of Famers, multiple guys with championship rings and an uber-creative team behind the camera. We’re going to have so much fun.”

Nichols in July 2021.
Nichols in July 2021.

Nichols also discussed what went on behind the scenes that eventually led to her leaving ESPN on the All The Smoke podcast Friday.

“Around that same time, I got a phone call asking me would I step aside for Maria to host the NBA Finals and have me go back to being a sideline reporter," Nichols said.

"They stressed it was my choice, they weren’t telling me to do this, because it was in my contract. But they were putting a lot of pressure on me. I was being told ‘Well, you’re not a team player.’ Which any woman in business knows is code, right? Women are supposed to be kumbaya, and team players, and helpful, and men are aggressive sharks, and all that?

"I just felt like ‘Hey, I worked so long, decades for this job. I have done everything that was asked. We put on some great shows leading up to the playoffs. And I wanted a chance to do it.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rachel Nichols to Showtime after public ESPN exit