On Monday, ESPN announced that New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum is putting his journalism degree from Lehigh University to use as he joins the network’s NBA Finals broadcasts as an analyst. The 30-year-old has made appearances on ESPN as an analyst in the past. However, this will be his official debut with the worldwide leader in sports.
In its announcement, ESPN shared that it has signed McCollum to a multi-platform deal. The 2016 NBA Most Improved Player award winner will make his debut on the network’s NBA Finals: Celebrating 75. The program will air on ESPN2 as secondary coverage for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The championship round between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics begins on Thursday night.
“I am excited to bring what I feel is my unique perspective, based on my vast knowledge of the game that I’ve gained during my nine years as a player in the NBA,” McCollum said in a statement, according to ESPN. “To have an opportunity to put my journalism background to use on the largest stage with the many talented professionals at ESPN is a dream come true.”
CJ McCollum Working with ESPN to Develop a New Podcast
As part of the multi-platform deal, CJ McCollum will work closely with ESPN to create a new podcast. He will also work NBA Summer League games as an analyst after this season. Further, he’ll make in-studio appearances on ESPN’s various shows throughout the rest of 2022.
“CJ is one of the most respected players in the NBA, which is evident by his role as President of the NBA PA. Furthermore, he’s an extremely talented member of – and leader on – one of the most interesting teams in the league: the New Orleans Pelicans,” said David Roberts, ESPN head of NBA and studio production. “CJ’s commitment to this opportunity, combined with his passion for journalism and sports broadcasting, will be a clear benefit for NBA fans.”
For more than eight seasons, McCollum played alongside Damian Lillard on the Portland Trail Blazers. The pair were one of the league’s best backcourt tandems for years. Yet in February, close to the NBA trade deadline, Portland traded their No. 2 option to New Orleans. McCollum immediately brought leadership and a veteran presence to the young, up-and-coming squad. In fact, he helped lead them on a late season run to make the playoffs.
McCollum’s ESPN deal isn’t the first of its kind for a current player. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has worked as an analyst temporarily on multiple occasions. In January, Turner Sports took notice and signed Green to a similar multi-platform deal.