Rachel Nichols
Rachel Michele Alexander

1973/1974 (age 47–48)
Alma materNorthwestern University
OccupationSports journalist, television host
Years active1995–present
Notable credit(s)
Unguarded with Rachel Nichols
Monday Night Football
Monday Night Countdown
Sunday NFL Countdown
The Jump
Max Nichols
(m. 2001)

Rachel Michele Nichols (née Alexander; born 1973 or 1974)[1] is an American sports broadcaster who was a television host for ESPN, a sports reporter, and an anchor. She hosted an National Basketball Association (NBA) discussion show, The Jump, which aired weekdays on ESPN and covered news and stories from around the league with a panel of NBA analysts and players.

Early life

Nichols was born Rachel Michele Alexander. She grew up in Potomac, Maryland, where she graduated from Winston Churchill High School.[2][3] In 1995, she graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.[4]


Nichols began her career as a sports journalist in the 1990s, first writing for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel sports page (1995–1996) before covering the NHL's Washington Capitals for the Washington Post (1996–2004).[2] She joined ESPN in 2004, where she became a regular part of SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown, as well as a regular on the network's NFL and NBA coverage.[5][6] Nichols was also a correspondent for E:60[7] and worked as the sideline reporter on a number of Monday Night Football broadcasts.[8]

In 2013, she left ESPN for CNN and began hosting Unguarded with Rachel Nichols in October of that year. The program would change from a regular series to an occasional special by October of the subsequent year.[9] Nichols was widely praised for her tough questioning of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the wake of the Ray Rice scandal[10] and likewise for confronting boxer Floyd Mayweather on his history of domestic violence.[11] During this same period, Nichols also worked the sidelines for Turner Sports' NBA on TNT program from 2013–2016, working both regular season and playoff games.

After returning to ESPN in 2016, she co-hosted The Jump, a daily discussion show she created covering the NBA.[6][12] She also became a recurring guest-host on the podcast Pardon My Take (2016–present), as well as on the TV show Pardon the Interruption.[13] Prior to the 2019–20 NBA season, she was named host of NBA Saturday Primetime and the NBA Finals on ABC.[14] Plans to have The Jump serve as the Finals pregame show were scrapped amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, when NBA Countdown with host Maria Taylor was made the Finals' pregame and halftime show. Nichols became the sideline reporter for the NBA Finals, replacing Doris Burke, who was moved to radio. Nichols hosted the championship trophy presentation at the end of the finals.[15]

In July 2021, a recording of a phone call from the previous July between Nichols and LeBron James' advisor Adam Mendelsohn was leaked in which Nichols suggested that ESPN's decision to choose Taylor to host the NBA Finals was due to Taylor's race, a video that was widely circulated at ESPN and resulted in several of her colleagues considering a boycott of programming, including one prominent analyst who labeled Nichols a "bad teammate".[16] Afterwards, ESPN replaced Nichols with Malika Andrews as the sideline reporter for the 2021 NBA Finals.[17][18] The announcement was made before Game 1 of the series. Without warning, ESPN also did not broadcast The Jump that day.[18] On August 25, ESPN canceled The Jump and pulled Nichols from its NBA coverage.[19] At the time, she had over a year remaining on her contract.[20] On January 4, 2022, Nichols officially left ESPN.[21]


Nichols has been named one of Esquire's "Women We Love"[22] and one of The Hollywood Reporter's "10 Most Powerful Voices in Sports Media".[23] She was also named to Sports Illustrated's "Twitter 100" in 2013 and 2014[24][25] and to Sports Illustrated "MMQB 100".[26] In 2014, Sports Illustrated called Nichols "the country's most impactful and prominent female sports journalist".[27]

Personal life

Nichols married film and music video director Max Nichols,[28] son of film and stage director Mike Nichols, in a Jewish ceremony in Venice in 2001.[1] Her mother-in-law, the stepmother of Max Nichols and the last wife of Mike Nichols before his death, is Diane Sawyer.[29] Nichols and her husband have twin daughters.[30][31] She also has one older brother and one younger brother.[32]


  1. ^ a b "Weddings; Rachel Alexander, Max Nichols". The New York Times. May 27, 2001. Sect. 9, p. 9. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Rachel Alexander". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
  3. ^ Frank, Noah (November 18, 2016). "Express lane to Bristol: Why so many D.C. sports personalities end up at ESPN". WTOP News.
  4. ^ Moellers, Beth (April 4, 2018). "Co-anchor of NBC's 'TODAY Show,' Host of ESPN's 'The Jump' named 2018 Medill convocation speakers". Northwestern University. Medill School of Journalism.
  5. ^ Hiestand, Michael (January 24, 2013). "Rachel Nichols leaving ESPN for CNN". USA Today.
  6. ^ a b Spanberg, Erik (March 25, 2019). "ESPN's Rachel Nichols asks the tough questions". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  7. ^ "Rachel Nichols: Reporter and E:60 Correspondent". MediaZone (biography). ESPN. March 7, 2010. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  8. ^ "Anchors and Reporters: Rachel Nichols". CNN. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  9. ^ "'Unguarded with Rachel Nichols' will only air as specials after Turner shakeup". USA Today.
  10. ^ "Rachel Nichols refused to let Roger Goodell off the hook". USA Today. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  11. ^ "CNN's Rachel Nichols Confronts Floyd Mayweather over Domestic Abuse Charges". Mediaite. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  12. ^ Bechtel, Mark. "How The Jump became TV's smartest basketball show". SI.com. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  13. ^ "Nichols teams with Post mentors Wilbon, Kornheiser on PTI - ESPN Front Row". July 28, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  14. ^ "ESPN Reimagines NBA Pregame Coverage with New Strategy". October 8, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  15. ^ "Doris Burke to make history by calling conference finals, NBA Finals on radio". Pro Basketball Talk. Associated Press. September 10, 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  16. ^ Draper, Kevin (July 4, 2021). "A Disparaging Video Prompts Explosive Fallout Within ESPN". The New York Times. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  17. ^ Tapp, Tom (July 6, 2021). "Rachel Nichols' Show 'The Jump' Replaced On ESPN Tuesday Schedule Just Hours Before Start Of NBA Finals". Deadline. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  18. ^ a b Mangan, Dan (July 6, 2021). "ESPN sits NBA reporter Rachel Nichols for Suns-Bucks finals amid furor over Maria Taylor race comment". CNBC. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  19. ^ Pramuk, Jacob (August 25, 2021). "ESPN cancels Rachel Nichols' show, pulls her from NBA coverage following race controversy". CNBC. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  20. ^ Owens, Jason (August 26, 2021). "ESPN removes Rachel Nichols from NBA programming, cancels 'The Jump'". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  21. ^ Oshin, Olafimihan (January 4, 2022). "Rachel Nichols officially leaves ESPN after settlement". thehill.com. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  22. ^ "The Esquire Survey: The Sexiest Women on the Planet". Esquire. November 1, 2005. Archived from the original on May 8, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
  23. ^ "The 10 Most Powerful Voices in Sports Media: Simmons, Barkley and More". The Hollywood Reporter.
  24. ^ "The Twitter 100". Sports Illustrated. September 25, 2013. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  25. ^ "The Twitter 100". Sports Illustrated. November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  26. ^ King, Peter (June 16, 2015). "No. 99: Rachel Nichols - The MMQB 100". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  27. ^ "The Case for ... Rachel Nichols". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  28. ^ "Helmer has 'Two Night Stand'". Variety. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  29. ^ O'Connell, Ryan (November 20, 2014). "'GMA' Remembers Mike Nichols: 'We are Thinking of Diane This Morning' (Video)". The Wrap. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  30. ^ Rosen, Rick (February 18, 2016). "Max Nichols, Rachel Nichols Husband: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". heavy. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  31. ^ Shister, Gail. "Hard-Nosed Sports Reporter, Still Hit On in the Locker Room, Gets CNN Back in the Game". TVNewser. Archived from the original on August 24, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  32. ^ Karalis, John. "Feb 28- ESPN's Rachel Nichols on working with Pierce & Perk, Tatum's ascension, & being a role model for girls". Retrieved March 2, 2020.