- Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons vs. James Harden and Russell Westbrook
- Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart Return to Staples Center the First Time
- NBA Countdown to Air Feature on the State of the Big Man in Today’s League
- NBA Countdown Pays Tribute to NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern
The first NBA on ESPN broadcast of the New Year tips off on Friday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. ET with a classic NBA Friday doubleheader. NBA All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons face former NBA MVPs James Harden and Russell Westbrook when the Philadelphia 76ers visit the Houston Rockets in the first half of the doubleheader. Play-by-play commentator Mark Jones, analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Cassidy Hubbarth will be courtside to call the action. In the 10:30 p.m. nightcap, six-time NBA All-Star, Anthony Davis faces his former team when the Los Angeles Lakers host the New Orleans Pelicans, starring former Lakers, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart. Play-by-play commentator Dave Pasch will call the action with analyst Mark Jackson and reporter Jorge Sedano.
|Fri, Jan. 3||8 p.m.||Philadelphia 76ers at Houston Rockets||Mark Jones, Jeff Van Gundy, Cassidy Hubbarth|
|Fri, Jan. 3||10:30 p.m.||New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers||Dave Pasch, Mark Jackson, Jorge Sedano|
NBA Countdown, ESPN and ABC’s longstanding NBA pregame show, will lead into Friday’s doubleheader beginning at 7 p.m. with Maria Taylor, Scottie Pippen, Paul Pierce and Adrian Wojnarowski. The show will air a feature, led by senior writer Jackie MacMullan, on the “Big Man” in today’s league compared to NBA legends Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.
NBA Countdown will also highlight the history of on-court beef between Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook prior to the Sixers vs. Rockets matchup, and pay tribute to NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern.
All ESPN programming is available to stream on the ESPN App.