ESPN’s 2021 NBA Preseason Coverage Begins Tonight with Miami Heat vs. Houston Rockets


ESPN’s 2021 NBA Preseason Coverage Begins Tonight with Miami Heat vs. Houston Rockets

Beth Mowins, Brian Custer to Call First NBA Preseason Games

ESPN will nationally televise six 2021 NBA preseason matchups, with the schedule tipping off tonight, October 7, on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. ET as Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat visit Jalen Green and the Houston Rockets . Play-by-play commentator Brian Custer will call his first NBA preseason game on ESPN with analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

Preseason game coverage continues with a Sunday night ESPN doubleheader on October 10. The defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks, starring reigning NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, will host the Oklahoma City Thunder, starring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Beth Mowins will provide play-by-play commentary for her first NBA preseason game alongside analyst Richard Jefferson. The matchup will be subject to local blackout restrictions in the Milwaukee market. In the 10 p.m. nightcap, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers take on Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns. Mark Jones will call the action from Staples Center with analyst Mark Jackson.

Date Time (ET) Game Commentators Network(s)
Thu, Oct 7 10 p.m. Miami Heat at Houston  Rockets Brian Custer, Jeff Van Gundy ESPN2, ESPN App
Sun, Oct 10 7:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Milwaukee Bucks Beth Mowins, Richard Jefferson ESPN, ESPN App
10 p.m. Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers Mark Jones, Mark Jackson ESPN, ESPN App

NBA Tip-off Anthem

The NBA on ESPN Brand Marketing team launched the 2021-22 NBA Tip-off anthem, Anyone’s Time, in partnership with its creative agency Arts & Letters. The overarching story tells fans that this upcoming NBA season will be unlike any other, with the potential of being the most competitive season in years. The rising young stars are taking the league by storm with veterans trying to cement their legacy. It is truly an unpredictable season and will be ANYONE’S TIME.

ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe ranked every team from top to bottom with the 12th annual ‘NBA tiers’, his alternative to power rankings. He assesses title shots, long shots and no shots for the 2021-22 season.

Earlier this week, NBA Writer Tim Bontemps and Front Office Insider Bobby Marks broke down every detail surrounding Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers and their trade impasse.

More digital content is available on the NBA section of

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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