EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of the interview is seen above; Part II is featured below.
Rachel Nichols, acclaimed journalist and host of ESPN’s The Jump, conducted an exclusive, live satellite interview with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday evening during SportsCenter.
During the interview, Commissioner Silver addressed several topics related to the NBA’s season suspension, while also telling Nichols: “I appreciate the fact that you’re working and that you’re doing this show and that your producers and technicians are working in essentially an empty studio in New York City. And I know that it’s, in essence, a public service that all of you are continuing to work to provide news to people around America.”
The Jump resumed on Thursday, and before the show, Nichols took a few minutes to reflect on her interview with the Commissioner.
There’s so much we didn’t know about what the NBA is grappling with, what they’re planning and what criteria they’re going to use to go forward. – Rachel Nichols
What did you want to accomplish during the interview?
A lot of the conversation was just straight-up asking for information. There’s so much we didn’t know about what the NBA is grappling with, what they’re planning and what criteria they’re going to use to go forward. I told Adam during the interview that I didn’t expect him to be able to predict the future, but it was definitely so useful to hear about what they’re considering and why they’re making the decisions they’re making.
What did you notice about the Commissioner’s tone and demeanor?
One of the earliest public moments for Adam was being faced with the Donald Sterling situation just six months into his tenure as commissioner. So we’ve seen how he acts in a crisis before – he’s calm, measured, transparent, forward-thinking, not afraid to be bold and decisive. And we’re seeing all of that again now. I thought his tone in the interview had just the right amount of gravity but he also wasn’t afraid to crack a smile once in a while and bring fans in, to make them feel like ‘Hey, we’re all in this together.’
How will you approach The Jump during this season suspension?
We’ve had some practice with this – in a normal year, we’re on the air in August and September when there are no games. So we will cover news as it develops, and I expect there to still be a fair amount of it, even with no games. But we’re also going to lean into what’s so fun about basketball. I’m not sure if there’s going to be another daily place for NBA fans to gather and hang out while all of this is going on – so hopefully, we can be a place each day for people to still get to touch the game they love and be a bit of an escape.