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R.I.P. to ESPN’s NBA show “The Jump”

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The good and the bad of a quirky show that ran during the height of the Warriors dynasty.

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry jokes with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols before NBA Finals’ practice at ScotiaBank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Photo by Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

I want to take a brief moment to pay my respects to the recently canceled ESPN daytime NBA gossip show, “The Jump”. For hoop nerds like myself who grew up in the 90’s fanatically watching “Inside Stuff” with Ahmad Rashad and devouring every Sports Illustrated basketball article like candy, The Jump was a guilty pleasure.

Hosted by the peppy Rachel Nichols, the show was a daily dive into the latest highlights and rumors around the Association. She had a rotating cast of co-hosts including legends like Scottie Pippen, Tracy McGrady, and my high school favorite hooper Paul Pierce. There were also journalists who dropped in like Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst (more on him later).

But yea, Nichols is now off ESPN’s basketball coverage and her show is canceled now in the wake of a bizarre scandal. Per The Athletic:

In a story published July 4, The New York Times revealed comments Nichols made about Maria Taylor in July 2020 — after Taylor, who is Black, had been assigned hosting duties for “NBA Countdown” during the NBA Finals — when Nichols was apparently unaware that a camera was filming.

“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols, who is White, said in a conversation with Adam Mendelsohn, who is a longtime adviser of LeBron James. “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it.

“Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”

Now I know there were a lot of NBA fans who did not like this show. Their constant platform for Kendrick Perkins’ hot takes rubbed some folks the wrong way, and others thought they were just a mouthpiece for Klutch Sports propaganda. Personally, I enjoyed watching the show for kicks and giggles while the Warriors were terrorizing the league. It was awesome seeing Nichols and her co-hosts devote airtime to praising my hometown team.

Although I have to admit there was a bizarre moment where Windhorst one day claimed the Warriors had “weaponized joy”. Huh? You mean the catchphrase I invented here at GSOM back in 2017 and turned into a global symbol of GSW domination? Check the 2:20 mark.

At that point I knew my reach as a #blogboi was stronger than I could have imagined. Friends and family texted me incredulous messages about The Jump using my slogan! Sadly, I was not given a million dollars for that culture vulture move. Do I sound bitter? That’s only because I am! (Haha just kidding; it was a cool moment.)

Anyways, personal diatribe aside, there were actually some neat clips from The Jump that I’ll never forget. Here’s my three favorite times The Jump showed a different side of legendary NBA players:

T-Mac and Kobe sit down

As a guy who was in high school during the mid-2000s, the Kobe Bryant vs Tracy McGrady debate is something that will always be near and dear to my heart. Seeing those two guys sit down after their stellar careers and describe their friendship and rivalry was touching, and the importance of it was magnified after Kobe’s tragic passing.

Pip shows T-Mac the way to guard The Beard

Scottie Pippen is one of the greatest defenders in NBA history, and hearing him break down how he’d attack the superstar scoring ability of MVP James Harden was a masterclass in psychology.

Matt Barnes receives his championship ring

You know I had to end it with some Warriors love. Barnes is currently the host of All The Smoke with Stephen Jackson, but Dub Nation loves them both from their pivotal contributions to the We Believe team. Not only that, but Barnes was also a key role player for Golden State’s 2017 title squad as well.

After Barnes retired he was featured on several appearances of The Jump and in this episode he received his championship ring. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Poll

Did you enjoy watching The Jump?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Sure, it wasn’t a bad way to pass the time
    (882 votes)
  • 17%
    Absolutely not, and why aren’t we discussing who will be the 15th man on the Warriors roster this season?! ARRGH!
    (185 votes)
1067 votes total Vote Now