Following the conclusion of the 2021 NBA Finals, ESPN and Maria Taylor jointly announced that Taylor’s time as one of the network’s most ubiquitous personalities came to an end. The news of her departure had been speculated for some time amid reports that the two sides were unable to come to terms on a new contract for the host who wore a number of hats with the Worldwide Leader, something that was reflected in a statement she released regarding her departure.
“So thankful to Jimmy and all of my great teammates and friends at the SEC Network, College GameDay, Women’s and Men’s college basketball, and the NBA Countdown family — the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me, and lifted me up,” Taylor said. “Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud.”
ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro also released a statement regarding Taylor’s departure, saying, “Maria’s remarkable success speaks directly to her abilities and work ethic. There is no doubt we will miss Maria, but we remain determined to continue to build a deep and skilled talent roster that thoroughly reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve. While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we’ve done together.”
Beyond the negotiations over a new contract, Taylor made headlines in recent weeks following a series of leaked comments made about her promotion to the head of the NBA Countdown desk by fellow ESPN host Rachel Nichols which indicated her belief that Taylor got the gig over her due to the network’s longstanding issues with diversity. While her next move has not been finalized, reports indicate that Taylor’s on the verge of coming to terms with NBC Sports on a contract.