Behind The ScenesNBA

Lifetime NBA fan Michelle Beadle merrily handles Christmas Countdown duties

The NBA Countdown team (L-R): Tracy McGrady), Michelle Beadle, Jalen Rose and Chauncey Billups. (Kohjiro Kinno/ESPN Images)
The NBA Countdown team (L-R): Tracy McGrady, Michelle Beadle, Jalen Rose and Chauncey Billups. (Kohjiro Kinno/ESPN Images)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Christmas editions of NBA Countdown will air at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN and at 2 p.m. on ABC.

What’s it been like balancing NBA Countdown and SportsNation? How do you keep yourself focused on both?

“I’d love to sit here and tell you that it’s been a struggle, but honestly, I’m doing everything I wanted to be doing. SportsNation will always be my baby. We helped launch it many moons ago and every single day I’m on that set is just an excuse to talk sports and laugh.

NBA Countdown, or my “adult job” as I call it, is just a sports-specific version of the same. I’ve always viewed this job as something that should be done to the best of my capabilities but to never take myself too seriously. I can only hope that comes across. NBA is my first love and calling this “work” would be silly.

Michelle Beadle is having a blast these days, and it shows.

Beadle, one of ESPN’s most popular personalities, expanded her role this fall by becoming the host of NBA Countdown. And this Christmas, she’ll serve as the face of ABC and ESPN’s NBA pre-game and halftime coverage for the NBA’s number one day, which will include Earvin “Magic” Johnson‘s return to ABC and an NBA Finals rematch.

Beadle spoke with Front Row about her Christmas memories, her new NBA Countdown colleagues, and why her job isn’t “work.”

What are your thoughts on working your first NBA Countdown on Christmas Day? And, do you have any favorite NBA Christmas memories?
My family is a pretty big basketball fan family. So Christmas consisted of silly gifts, great wine, and for several years, hoops on the TV. If I was home and lucky enough to have the Spurs playing in San Antonio, then my dad, brother and I were at those games – popcorn and all.

As for working my first Christmas NBA Countdown, I’m looking at it like a marathon of everything I would have been watching anyways, but this time I’m watching alongside great basketball minds in [Countdown analysts] Jalen [Rose], Chauncey [Billups] and Magic. And quite frankly, the idea of Billups and Rose in pajamas and ugly Christmas sweaters is all the motivation this girl needs.

NBA Countdown has been very well received so far this season. Describe your general approach to the show and what you hope to accomplish Christmas Day and throughout the season.
Well, first of all, that’s awesome to hear, and it’s much appreciated. My approach to the show has been the same approach I’ve always used in anything I’ve tried: fun first, and leave the audience with something they may not have known before. Between Jalen and Chauncey, they have more stories and experiences than the average bear and as long as they’re willing to share those anecdotes, we all get a little smarter. Christmas and playoffs are no different. Every day, I’m around those guys, I learn something new, and isn’t that half the battle?

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