The NBA Countdown has a new leading lady.
On Tuesday, the ESPN announced that Michelle Beadle will now host the basketball show on ABC and ESPN. In her new role, the SportsNation anchor will lead full-time coverage of NBA pre-game and halftime shows as well as both ABC and ESPN’s studio coverage throughout the NBA playoffs.
Beadle, who joined Countdown at the start of the current season as a part-time host on Wednesdays and Fridays, replaces veteran Sage Steele, who has been at the network for over a decade.
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Steele has recently become a target of criticism for her approach to political coverage. In a post-game interview with Arcade Fire singer Win Butler—who had just been named MVP of the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game—Steele cut off Butler’s attempts to talk about the U.S. election, saying “We’re talking about celebrity stuff, not politics.”
A few weeks earlier, the sports reporter was criticized for an Instagram post in which she wrote about being inconvenienced by protests to Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
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So THIS is why thousands of us dragged luggage nearly 2 miles to get to LAX, but still missed our flights. Fortunately, a 7 hour wait for the next flight to Houston won't affect me that much, but my heart sank for the elderly and parents with small children who did their best to walk all that way but had no chance of making their flights. I love witnessing people exercise their right to protest! But it saddened me to see the joy on their faces knowing that they were successful in disrupting so many people's travel plans. Yes, immigrants were affected by this as well. Brilliant. 🇺🇸
It is unclear what role Steele will have at ESPN—if any—now that Beadle has been tapped to host Countdown.