Senior Writer and Commentator
A nationally-recognized and award-winning sports columnist, author and commentator, Jackie MacMullan is a senior writer for ESPN and a regular panelist on Around the Horn. The former Boston Globe writer and editor contributes to other ESPN programs and is one of the company’s most respected NBA voices.
MacMullan has written for ESPN since she joined ESPN Boston in 2010. Focused on the NBA, she has written many memorable stories and features for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine, including 2017 pieces on superstar Kevin Durant and his aspirations beyond basketball and an NBA Preview cover story on how the Houston Rockets landed Chris Paul.
Beyond her writing, MacMullan is one of the most tenured panelists on ESPN’s Around the Horn. She debuted in the show’s first week on air in November 2002 and has made more than 700 appearances on the weekday sports debate and discussion show, including ATH’s first-ever all-female panel in April 2016 alongside Jemele Hill, Kate Fagan and Sarah Spain.
MacMullan makes regular appearances on many ESPN shows, including editions of SportsCenter, The Jump, SportsNation, and more. She was on ESPN’s first Sports Reporters show in 1988 and the only female panelist for the first couple of years, while serving as an intermittent guest from 2002 until 2017 (except between 1995-2000). MacMullan has also been a guest host on Pardon the Interruption and is regularly featured on local Boston news and radio stations.
For more than 20 years, MacMullan was a sports columnist and editor for The Boston Globe. Beginning in 1982, she covered a variety of sports, including the 1986 World Series, the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals, the 1988 Olympic Games, as well as numerous Final Four tournaments and NBA Championships. She was named columnist – the first female columnist in the history of the paper – and associate editor of the Globe in January 2002. She occupied that position until 2008.
MacMullan was also a senior writer for Sports Illustrated from 1995-2000, covering the NBA. From 1996-99, she was a regular contributor to CNN/SI, the 24-hour news network, and from 1990-95, was an ESPN correspondent. In addition, she has worked as a correspondent for WHDH-TV in Boston and New England Sports Network (NESN).
MacMullan has earned multiple national awards from the Associated Press for her investigative reporting and feature writing. A pioneering journalist, she also carries the distinction of being the first and only woman to receive the Curt Gowdy Award from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for a career of excellence in basketball writing and reporting.
In 2019, MacMullan received the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing – the first female recognized with this honor. The Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) also selected her as the 2019 recipient of its Mary Garber Pioneer Award, the organization’s highest honor. Other notable awards for MacMullan include the Tufts University Distinguished Achievement Award (1995), the New England Women’s Leadership Award recipient in sports (1997), the New Fund Hall of Fame media recipient (2000), the Ron Burton Community Service Award (2009) for “demonstrating leadership in service and respect for others,” and Fairfield University basketball’s “Leaders of the Herd” Lifetime Achievement Award (2015).
An accomplished author, MacMullan’s fifth book, Basketball: A Love Story, was released in September 2018. Co-authored with Rafe Bartholomew, this comprehensive oral history is culled from interviews with more than 177 athletes and coaches at all levels, including the likes of Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry, LeBron James, Rebecca Lobo, Mike Krzyzewski and Geno Auriemma. The project was born in conjunction with the ESPN documentary series by Dan Klores of the same name that debuted in October 2018.
MacMullan’s previous four books include: Larry Bird’s autobiography, Bird Watching: On Playing and Coaching the Game I Love (1999); Geno: In Pursuit of Perfection with Geno Auriemma (2006); the New York Times best seller When the Game Was Ours (2009) with Magic Johnson and Bird; and Shaquille O’Neal’s autobiography, Shaq Uncut: My Story (2011).
A native of Manhasset, N.Y., MacMullan graduated cum laude from the University of New Hampshire, where she played four years of basketball. She was the recipient of both the Robert Perry Student-Athlete of the Year Award and the Dean Williamson Award, given to the student who “excels in scholarship, athletics and loyalty to the University.” She was inducted into the University of New Hampshire’s Hall of Honor in 2001. In 2018, she delivered the commencement address and received an honorary degree from Emmanuel College in Boston.
MacMullan is a board member of the Shooting Touch Foundation, which assists at-risk youth in both Boston and Rwanda. She traveled to Rwanda in March 2017 on a life-changing service trip with Shooting Touch, which she wrote about for espnW. MacMullan’s other charitable endeavors include working with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, for whom she served as a national spokesperson in 2000, and the New England Hemophilia Association.