ESPN reportedly planning to hire Doc Rivers, promote Doris Burke, demote Mark Jackson

ESPN’s ongoing talent shakeup is expected to produce a dramatically revamped A-team for its NBA broadcasts.

Per the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, the network is planning to promote analyst Doris Burke to call games alongside lead play-by-play man Mike Breen. It’s also expected to hire Doc Rivers to complete the three-person team that anchors the network’s NBA Finals coverage.

Rivers has spent the last 24 seasons as an NBA head coach, but remains without work after being fired by the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason. He would join Burke in replacing Jeff Van Gundy, who was laid off last month amid a wave of high-profile talent cuts at the network.

Doris Burke is expected to join Mike Breen on ESPN's NBA A-team. (Kirby Lee/Reuters)

Doris Burke is expected to join Mike Breen on ESPN’s NBA A-team. (Kirby Lee/Reuters)

The shakeup would also mean a demotion for analyst Mark Jackson, who worked alongside Breen and Van Gundy for 15 seasons across two stints starting in 2006. Per the report, Jackson would have the option of working alongside play-by-play man Mark Jones on the network’s NBA B team. If he declined, he could be done at ESPN.

The moves would mark a return of Rivers to the NBA Finals broadcast booth after a stint with ABC in 2004. Rivers called the 2004 finals alongside Al Michaels after he was fired as the head coach of the Orlando Magic early that same season. His broadcast stint was brief, though. Rivers returned to NBA sidelines the following season as the head coach of the Boston Celtics, whom he coached to an NBA championship five seasons later.

The promotion of Burke would be a historic one. She’s previously worked the NBA Finals as a sideline reporter and has long been a game analyst for ESPN, most recently alongside Jones on the network’s B team. If promoted, she would be the first woman to call NBA Finals games on network TV.

Leave a Comment