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Starting Five: ESPN NBA Host and Reporter Cassidy Hubbarth

Before Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight on ABC, the point guard of ESPN's digital NBA pregame show Hoop Streams answers five questions regarding the show's growth, her favorite sideline interviews and more

Cassidy Hubbarth takes the pulse of the league on ESPN’s “Hoop Streams” during the NBA Finals.
(Kelly Backus/ESPN Images)

There’s never a dull moment for ESPN NBA host and reporter Cassidy Hubbarth.

After completing her role as sideline reporter throughout the regular season and into the NBA Playoffs, as well as hosting NBA Crosscourt and the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, the Evanston, Ill., native has turned her attention back to Hoop Streams – a show she helped launch in 2019. The digital NBA pregame show is available on ESPN social media platforms and the ESPN App at 8 p.m. ET.

Before NBA Finals Game 3 between the Denver Nuggets and the host Miami Heat (ABC, tonight, 8:30), Front Row lobbed five questions for Hubbarth to slam home.

What do you remember about your very first Hoop Streams show?
I remember the show going from just two of us standing courtside in Oakland for 30 minutes feeling out what the show could be to 10 of us throwing towels into a capacity-filled Jurassic Park [the Toronto Raptors’ arena-adjacent fan venue] during the NBA Finals. That first year on the show was such a fun ride discovering the identity of the show.

How did growing up in Chicago during the Michael Jordan era in the 1990s influence your love of the NBA and how you cover it today?
Watching shows like [NBC’s] “Inside Stuff” and Stuart Scott calling Bulls highlights on SportsCenter, it formed not just my love for sports but my desire at an early age to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.

The NBA, the Bulls, and Jordan were all so embedded in pop culture in the ’90s that it influenced how I cover the NBA, with a strong interest in the personalities of the players, teams, and organizations.

Which sideline interviews are you most proud of this season?
The interview with [Philadelphia 76er guard] James Harden after giving school shooting survivor John Hao a pair of his shoes was a special moment that we felt fortunate we could share with the viewers. Beyond that, my interview with [76ers center] Joel Embiid after he had a dominant performance against [Nuggets center] Nikola Jokic and catapulted his name toward the top of the MVP. I also enjoyed my interview with fans at the top of the Alamodome and being part of history as that crowd set the attendance record for an NBA game.

On the heels of Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, how do you evaluate how popular the NBA is in the Philippines? What can be done to ensure there are more Filipinos working in the sport?
I evaluate it by the sheer amount of Filipino fans who reach out on social media or at arenas across the country, showing their love of the game. I know the numbers say that more than 60 percent of Filipinos consider themselves avid NBA fans, but it’s also a feel.

There’s the pride Filipinos have in their NBA teams and vice versa with Filipino heritage nights popping up across the league. I just hope one day the Philippines can see a native Filipino in the league because that would send the country into a frenzy.

When did you have the most fun covering the NBA this season?
I would have to say it was working the NBA Playoffs with Doris Burke, who is not only the GOAT, but truly one
but truly one of my dearest friends. When you love what you do and who you’re doing it with, it’s hardly work.

For more on ESPN’s NBA Finals coverage, visit ESPN Press Room

Doris Burke (L) and Cassidy Hubbarth (Photo courtesy Cassidy Hubbarth/ESPN)
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