Let the Games Begin! The NBA Returns to ESPN for the 18th Consecutive Season


Let the Games Begin! The NBA Returns to ESPN for the 18th Consecutive Season

  • The NBA on ESPN Tips Off on Wednesday, Oct. 23
  • SportsCenter with Stephen A. Smith Debuts Wednesday
  • Los Angeles Lakers Home Opener on Friday, Oct. 25
  • Rachel Nichols Extended Interview with Joel Embiid on The Jump
  • Episode 5 of SneakerCenter Available Now on ESPN+

The NBA on ESPN debuts this week for the 18th consecutive season with Wednesday night and Friday night doubleheaders. ESPN’s first doubleheader of the regular season tips off on Wednesday, Oct. 23, as the Philadelphia 76ers and Joel Embiid host the Boston Celtics and  Kemba Walker at 7:30 p.m. ET.  Mark Jones will provide the play-by-play with analyst and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Hubie Brown and reporter Cassidy Hubbarth. In the nightcap, top Western Conference teams battle it out when Damien Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers host Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets at 10 p.m. with Dave Pasch and analyst Doris Burke on the call. Rachel Nichols will lead halftime coverage for both games with ESPN analysts Jalen Rose and Paul Pierce.

SportsCenter with Stephen A. Smith presented by Mtn Dew debuts Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. ahead of ESPN’s season opening doubleheader. Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson and ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon will join Smith for the debut episode.

On Friday, Oct. 25, the Dallas Mavericks visit the New Orleans Pelicans at 8 p.m. Mike Breen will provide commentary with analyst Jeff Van Gundy and ESPN reporter Ariel HelwaniHoop Streams, ESPN’s innovative, on-site digital pregame show, will be live from the Smoothie King Center at 7:30 p.m., ahead of the Pelicans’ home opener, with host Cassidy Hubbarth, analyst Kendrick Perkins, ESPN commentator Gary Striewski and appearances from special guests and top commentators.  Hoop Streams is available on the ESPN App, and ESPN’s Twitter and YouTube platforms.

The opening week slate culminates at 10:30 p.m. when the new-look Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, host the Utah Jazz, led by Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, in the Lakers’ home opener. Play-by-play commentator Ryan Ruocco will call the action with analyst Mark Jackson, and reporter Jorge Sedano.

ESPN officiating expert, Steve Javie, will provide analysis from the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J. for Friday’s doubleheader.

NBA Countdown will lead into Friday’s ESPN NBA game coverage, beginning at 7 p.m. ET, with a one-hour pre-game show hosted by Maria Taylor featuring analysts Jalen RoseJay Williams and Paul Pierce and ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

Date Time (ET) Game Commentators
Wed, Oct. 23 7:30 p.m. Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Mark Jones, Hubie Brown, Cassidy Hubbarth
Wed, Oct. 23 10 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Dave Pasch, Doris Burke
Fri, Oct. 25 8 p.m. Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Ariel Helwani
Fri, Oct. 25 10:30 p.m. Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers Ryan Ruocco, Mark Jackson, Jorge Sedano

Rachel Nichols, host of The Jump, went one-on-one with two-time NBA All-Star, Joel Embiid, during Sixers Media Day to discuss the team’s offseason roster changes and expectations for this season. The extended interview will air on Wednesday’s edition of The Jump, ahead of the Celtics vs. Sixers matchup. The Jump, ESPN’s hour-long NBA news and discussion show, airs at 3 p.m. weekly with Nichols and a cast of high-profile analysts, reporters and special guests.

Exclusively on ESPN+, Episode 5 of SneakerCenter, a seven-part series devoted to sneaker culture at the intersection of sports and entertainment, is available now with a Special Edition segment featuring Naismith Basketall Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes. Swoopes was the first player ever selected to play in the WNBA and the first woman to have a sneaker named after her, the Nike “Air Swoopes”. The episode also features six quick-hitting segments including NBA stars discussing their most embarrassing sneaker moments, and a visit to Sneaker Con to explore the sneaker resale market.

More digital content is available on the NBA section of ESPN.com, including this week’s NBA Power Rankings.

All ESPN programming is available to stream on the ESPN App.


Shakeemah Simmons-Winter

I am a senior publicist for men’s pro sports, working predominantly with the NBA and FIBA properties. I’m a Jersey City, NJ native, so I cheer for all New York sports and athletes, win or lose. I began my sports career as a small forward for JCPS #9’s elementary basketball team, and then years later gave up my hoop dreams (sort of) to work as the Public Relations Coordinator for the New York Knicks. Prior to working in sports, I briefly worked as an intern turned production assistant for the Wendy Williams Show. I earned a B.A. in Communications from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, where I met my husband Matthew, and later attended New York University to earn a M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. I am excited to continue my sports journey with some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the sports industry.
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