ESPN's Malika Andrews gets choked up sharing NBA players' reactions to Breonna Taylor ruling

ESPN’s Malika Andrews delivered an emotional, personal and raw moment of television on SportsCenter late Wednesday when asked how NBA players were reacting to the Breonna Taylor ruling.

Andrews, an NBA writer for since 2018, is one of the few reporters in the bubble and is believed to be the youngest person to land an NBA Finals sideline gig.

She is also a 25-year-old Black woman. Taylor was 26 when she was shot and killed by Louisville police while she was in her apartment sleeping. A grand jury announced on Wednesday that the officers would not be charged for her death.

ESPN’s Malika Andrews: ‘That could have been me’

Malika Andrews in the bottom right corner on the NBA court that says "Black Lives Matter."
Broadcast reporter Malika Andrews was candid and personal in her reporting of the Breonna Taylor ruling on SportsCenter. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

Andrews was on the late-night SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, who asked how the Taylor verdict resonated in the NBA bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. She said Jalen Brown was already ready for the verdict.

“He said, ‘What do you expect about a system ... about a system that is rigged against, that was founded on an unfairness against people who look like him and people that look like me.”

Andrews got choked up and wove in her personal outlook seamlessly in a heartbreaking moment.

“I have prided myself in being able to objective and cover these sorts of issues,” Andrews said. “But when it is so clear that the system of objectivity in journalism is so white-washed and doesn’t account for the fact that when I am walking up the hill my wonderful producer Melinda reminds me that Breonna Taylor was 26 and I am 25 and that could have been me, it is very hard to continue to go to work. And that’s what these players were feeling.”

Andrews very quickly jumped back into reporting on the players with poise. Her brief vulnerability put another face to the issue as she shared publicly what so many in and out of the NBA bubble are feeling late this week.

Breonna Taylor: Controversial grand jury ruling

A Louisville grand jury indicted former detective Brett Hankinson on three felony charges of wanton endangerment in the shooting. Hankinson was one of three officers to fire a total of 32 shots into Taylor’s apartment while serving a no-knock warrant, according to Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

The charges were for allegedly shooting into a neighboring apartment and putting Taylor’s neighbors in danger. There were no charges related to Taylor’s death.

Athletes react to Taylor ruling

Athletes around the sports world reacted to the ruling on Wednesday afternoon with frustration and disappointment. The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James told the Taylor family he was sorry in a series of tweets and then promised to help Black women. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics continued to speak about the ruling after their Eastern Conference finals matchup that night.

Andrews reported that the players did not consider skipping Wednesday night’s game, but they still remained disappointed with the ruling.

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