“I’ve covered the NBA one way or another for about 20 years,” says Nichols. “The NBA, to me, has always been the best storyline. If you’re a fan, you’re more personally attached to each player because you can see their faces.”
Nichols and the crew of The Jump will be broadcasting live from FirstEnergy Stadium’s City Club from 3 - 4 p.m. each day through Friday. But one topic that will not be on the table for discussion is the ongoing debate about the NBA’s GOAT, or Greatest of All Time.
“It’s exhausting,” says Nichols of the arguments for and against LeBron James and Michael Jordan. “We strive not to talk about it on the show.”
Nichols will be talking about the amazing playoff run of James, whom she sat down with for an extensive interview prior to the Finals, and the chances of the underdog Cavs against their nemesis.
Q: LeBron James is about to wrap up what has been an unprecedented post-season run. What has it been like to watch his play over the years?
A: To get to watch him grow and develop as a basketball player and a person has been one of the best stories of my career. It’s been pretty incredible to have a front row seat to that. When he came into the league everyone asked him if he wanted to be the next Michael Jordan. He said “I want to be the first LeBron James.” This last month has shown that answer from 15 years ago is the truth. We have not seen a player like him.
Q: There has been a lot to talk about the officiating during the Finals. What is your take on the controversy?
A: There isn’t a game I walk out of when I don’t hear fans from both teams complaining about the refs. I really do think, as someone who has covered different sports leagues, that the NBA has done things right. I don’t expect anyone to be perfect but I sure as hell expect them to try. I am a big fan of the 2-Minute Report. In the end, it will build trust.
Q: You worked with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon as an intern and reporter at the Washington Post. What was that like?
A: Those guys are my big brothers and I’m eternally grateful to them. I was a 19-year-old intern from Northwestern [University] and from the first day they could not have been more kind, generous and fun. When I was a scrappy, young beat writer I sat in a cubicle between them. They would yell from one desk to the other. Now, they yell at each other on [Pardon the Interruption].
Q: Any predictions on this series?
A: I don’t make picks. I never have. When I go to a movie, it’s Will Smith and the alien. I know who’s going to win. The thing I flat out love about sports is going to sit in these buildings not knowing who Will Smith is — and not knowing who the alien is.
8:00 AM EST
June 5, 2018