Press Release

July 27, 2021

ESPN and ABC To Exclusively Televise the ‘2021 NBA Draft Presented by State Farm’ Live Thursday, July 29, at 8 P.M. EDT/ 5 P.M. PDT

Round One to Simulcast on ESPN and ABC, Round Two on ESPN


‘The Jump’ to Host NBA Draft Red Carpet Special


NBA Draft Preview Show on Wednesday, July 28, on ESPN2

ESPN and ABC will exclusively televise the “2021 NBA Draft presented by State Farm” live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday, July 29, at 8 p.m. EDT/ 5 p.m. PDT, with pre-draft coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. For the first time, round one of the draft will simulcast on ESPN and ABC, while round two will air on ESPN. This marks ESPN’s 19th consecutive NBA Draft telecast overall. The NBA Draft will also be available on ESPN Radio and the ESPN App.


ESPN Coverage
Rece Davis will return to host ESPN’s coverage with an expert panel of commentators, including analysts Jay Bilas and Kendrick Perkins, and NBA Draft analyst Mike Schmitz with contributions from host Rachel Nichols and analyst Richard Jefferson. Additionally, senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski and NBA Front Office Insider Bobby Marks will both contribute to ESPN’s NBA Draft coverage with team insight, reports, news updates and commentary throughout the night.


ABC Coverage
“SportsCenter” anchor and college football/basketball host Kevin Negandhi will host the NBA Draft on ABC alongside NBA analysts Jalen Rose and Chiney Ogwumike, and NBA reporter Malika Andrews. The panel will celebrate the journeys of the prospects as they arrive on the biggest stage in basketball. Andrews will conduct one-on-one interviews with draftees following each team’s Draft selection. Twenty prospects are expected to appear in person. 


Miles Brown, actor/rapper/dancer and star of ABC’s “black-ish,” will provide back stage access throughout round one as an ABC Draft correspondent. 


Draft content will include a look back 25 years ago to the 1996 NBA Draft, featuring superstars like Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash and Stephon Marbury.  


Both telecasts will begin with high-tech animation scored with original music from rapper Benny the Butcher, embracing the rap style of the early 2000s. Technical coverage throughout the night will include cameras overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square, an internal aerial view of Barclays Center, multiple dynamic virtual technology, all-access robotic cameras, and mic’d up players for behind-the-scenes content. Additionally, new high-end custom graphics and scores of personal player features will debut during the event.


The ESPN and ABC sets will be located in front of the newly designed LED stage backdrop.


ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio will also nationally broadcast the 2021 NBA Draft. Marc Kestecher will describe the event from Brooklyn with analysts P.J. Carlesimo and Seth Greenberg, and ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne. Analyst and former NBA player Cory Alexander will host ESPN Radio’s pre-draft and post-draft shows. The ESPN Radio pre-draft show begins at 7 p.m. Audio from ESPN Radio’s NBA Draft broadcast will be available to stream on the ESPN App. 


“The Jump”
Thursday’s edition of “The Jump,” ESPN’s daily NBA news and discussion show, will be live from the Barclays Center at 3 p.m. Host Rachel Nichols will be joined by analysts Richard Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins, NBA Draft analyst Mike Schmitz and senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski. 


“The Jump” returns at 5 p.m. on ESPN with Nichols, Jefferson, NBA Reporter Nick Friedell and commentator Clinton Yates for an hourlong pre-draft Red Carpet Special, featuring interviews with draftees and NBA guests. 


“NBA Draft Preview Show”
ESPN’s 30-minute “NBA Draft Preview Show” will air Wednesday, July 28, at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Mike Schmitz, Kendrick Perkins, Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks will discuss the biggest NBA Draft storylines including top picks, possible trades and more. 


Digital Content will offer a wide variety of digital content leading into the 2021 NBA Draft:

  • On Monday, Kevin Pelton gave last-minute updates on NBA draft projections, trade questions and the most divisive picks rumored.
  • Jonathan Givony will continue to update his top 100 best available prospects through the week as intel changes from teams. On the night of the draft, Givony will provide live pick-by-pick updates in the ESPN Draftcast. Afterward, a panel of NBA and draft experts will offer draft grades and winners/losers of the 2021 draft.

Anna Negron:
Shakeemah Simmons-Winter:
Nicole Balgemino (ABC PR) at

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