PORTLAND, Ore — ESPN reporter and University of Portland (UP) graduate Malika Andrews was named one of Forbes' 30 under 30 working in the sports industry in 2021.
At age 25, Andrews is currently ESPN's only Black female NBA reporter. She led the network's coverage on the restart of professional basketball inside the league's Disney World bubble, according to Forbes' report.
Andrews was also one of the youngest sideline reporters ever for an NBA conference finals, the report says, and she advocates internally at ESPN for more nuanced coverage of race and gender topics.
An Oakland, Calif. native, she earned her bachelor of arts degree from UP and graduated with honors. She served as editor-in-chief of The Beacon, the university’s student newspaper.
Nancy Francis Copic, the university's assistant director for student media, met Andrews when she first joined The Beacon as a sports reporter.
"She was outstanding from the start," said Copic, a former longtime KGW anchor and reporter. "She had no experience, but she had a lot of guts and incredible work ethic and an intense curiosity."
Copic, who worked as an advisor for The Beacon helping students run the paper, said Andrews was a leader and an inspiration to other students, and she continues to set a positive example to this day.
"She has become a great mentor to people who are even younger than she is," Copic said.
Just as the coronavirus pandemic started ramping up in mid-March, Copic said she was with a group of UP students in New York, where Andrews lives. Andrews had been reporting for ESPN in Los Angeles but was sent home because of coronavirus concerns.
Andrews saw on Instagram that Copic was in New York and replied by offering to meet up with her and her students. Within 24 hours, the NBA announced it was canceling the rest of its season.
Andrews went live on air to break the news for ESPN shortly after her plane landed in New York. As busy as she was, Copic said she still went to meet up with her and her students following day.
"She's just so generous with her time like that," Copic said.
Andrews has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for her work. In 2016, Andrews won the Best Writer Award among Oregon college students, according to her bio on ESPN's press room website.
She joined ESPN in October 2018 after one year of working as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, she was a James Reston Reporting Fellow in the sports department at The New York Times.