ESPN today announced that host Sage Steele and analyst Jalen Rose will form the NBA Countdown studio duo for pregame and halftime shows during ABC’s NBA Sunday Showcase series. Coverage for the popular Sunday afternoon series generally begins at 3 p.m. ET (or 30-minutes prior to the game) with NBA Countdown presented by Straight Talk Wireless, followed by the NBA Sunday Showcase presented by Verizon Go90 game at 3:30 p.m. The series opens this Sunday, Jan. 29, with the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook.
This marks the first time ESPN has featured a two-person NBA Countdown team for regular editions of the show. The Sunday editions of NBA Countdown will include several feature pieces on a variety of NBA topics, in addition to commentary from Steele and Rose.
Kevin Wildes, ESPN vice president, original content:
“Sage and Jalen have literally known each other for decades, dating back to when Sage used to cover Jalen when she was a local Indianapolis reporter and he played for the Pacers. They’ve thrived on NBA Countdown for the past four years and we’re confident that their chemistry will continue to shine through on Sundays as we preview the big, weekly Sunday Showcase game and dive into stories around the league.”
In addition to the NBA Sunday Showcase series, Steele also hosts the editions of NBA Countdown connected to NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC with analysts Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Michael Wilbon. Rose also serves as an analyst for NBA Countdown on Wednesdays and Friday on ESPN with Michelle Beadle, Chauncey Billups and Tracy McGrady.
The weekly ABC NBA Sunday Showcase game will be called by veteran play-by-play commentator Mark Jones and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and analyst Hubie Brown. The NBA Sunday Showcase game tips off at 3:30 p.m. each week, unless otherwise specified.
ABC Sunday Showcase game schedule
|Jan. 29||Oklahoma City Thunder at Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Feb. 5||L.A. Clippers at Boston Celtics (at 2 p.m.)|
|Feb. 12||San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks|
|Mar. 5||Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks|
|Mar. 12||Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics|
|Mar. 26||Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets|
|*Apr. 2||Boston Celtics at New York Knicks (at 1 p.m.)|
|*Apr. 2||Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs (at 3:30 p.m.)|
*NBA Sunday Showcase doubleheader on Apr. 2.
Media contact: Ben Cafardo at 860-766-3496 or [email protected]. On twitter: @Ben_ESPN.