ESPN Teams Up with Academy Award-Winning Director Spike Lee to Direct and Appear In the 2021 NBA Finals Broadcast Opens on ABC


ESPN Teams Up with Academy Award-Winning Director Spike Lee to Direct and Appear In the 2021 NBA Finals Broadcast Opens on ABC

Debuts Next Week, Prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV

  • Broadcast Opens to Feature Highlights of Legendary and Historic NBA Finals Moments

ESPN today announced that Academy Award-Winning Director, Spike Lee, will direct and appear in the broadcast opens for the 2021 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV. The first open debuts next week, airing at tip off to Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Each game will air one of the four episodes inspired by the NBA legends of both yesterday and today.

In family rooms and kitchens around the world, NBA Fandom and the love of the game are passed on through generations. With a nod to Lee’s classic movies, the 2021 NBA Finals broadcast opens take advantage of a mixed media approach while incorporating both historical highlights and the style of the players who have impacted the Finals. This is an ode to the origins, voice and heartbeat of the modern game.

“As a basketball aficionado and an orange and blue faithful it is my honor and pleasure to direct the NBA Finals opens,” said Spike Lee. “I thank Commissioner Adam Silver, ESPN and ABC for giving me the opportunity to do what I love — sports and cinema. YA-DIG? SHO-NUFF.”

ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer, Julie McGlone, said “Spike is an NBA fan and loves the history of the game. He was at Madison Square Garden for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals and recalls every detail about Willis Reed and the Knicks. Spike describes these moments as a fan certainly, but also an active participant of great NBA Finals Championship moments.”

ESPN will exclusively produce the NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV on ABC for the 19th consecutive season.


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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