Following the completion of the NBA Finals in 2021, ESPN and Maria Taylor revealed that Taylor’s stint as one of the network’s most recognizable faces had come to an end. The news of her resignation had been rumored for some time, with speculations that the two sides had been unable to reach an agreement on a new contract for the host, who donned many hats with the Worldwide Leader, as evidenced by a statement she issued 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.”
“Maria’s amazing accomplishment speaks directly to her abilities and hard ethic,” said ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro in a statement about Taylor’s departure. We will certainly miss Maria, but we are committed to continuing to grow a talented team that accurately reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve. We are proud of the work we’ve done together, even though she opted to explore a new opportunity.”
Aside from the contract talks, Taylor has been in the news in recent weeks due to a series of leaked comments made by fellow ESPN host Rachel Nichols about Taylor’s promotion to the head of the NBA Countdown desk, in which she expressed her belief that Taylor was promoted over her due to the network’s long-standing diversity issues. While Taylor’s next step hasn’t been confirmed, rumours suggest she’s on the verge of signing a contract with NBC Sports.