Jalen Rose, whose star continues to rise at ESPN, has just been selected as the 4th member of ESPN’s “NBA Countdown,” sources tell me. The deal, which came together over the weekend, will pair Rose with Bill Simmons, Magic Johnson and Michael Wilbon, as ESPN makes a run at TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” The two shows don’t go head-to-head, but “Inside the NBA” is far more popular among fans.
ESPN didn’t return an email seeking comment.
Rose will be a busy man this winter. He’s replacing Hubert Davis on ESPN College Basketball Gameday (which will travel eight times), and he’s going to remain a co-host of Numbers Never Lie. Rose, 39, won’t be calling any college basketball games this year, a source said.
ESPN was slated to add Stan Van Gundy to “NBA Countdown,” last month, but as we reported last week, David Stern put the kibosh on that. (Van Gundy went on the radio and blasted ESPN for the decision.) Isiah Thomas was briefly in the picture to take Van Gundy’s spot, but a source says Bill Simmons favored Rose over the former Pistons point guard. A source said Simmons thought the Isiah-Magic pair might skew old with viewers, and he favored Rose, the former Fab 5 star.
Simmons didn’t return an email seeking comment.
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