Kia NBA Countdown, the NBA pregame show airing on both ESPN and ABC, will originate from the ESPN Los Angeles Production Center at L.A. LIVE - across the street from STAPLES Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers - beginning Christmas Day, Sunday, Dec. 25, at 2 p.m. ET.
Additionally, Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson will expand his ESPN responsibilities this season. Johnson will be a featured analyst - joining Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard - on Kia NBA Countdown (both ESPN and ABC) throughout the entire season. Johnson will also continue to conduct one-on-one interviews with some of the NBA's biggest stars and provide analysis on SportsCenter and other ESPN news and information shows.
"We're reinventing our NBA pregame experience with a new studio and a less scripted, more dynamic show," said Norby Williamson, executive vice president, production. "We're thrilled Magic has agreed to expand his role and look forward to his consistent presence throughout the entire season."
"It's been a lot of fun working with ESPN and its NBA team the last four years," said Johnson. "I've enjoyed it so much I'm looking forward to making even more appearances this season and I'm very excited about the show moving to L.A."
Kia NBA Countdown will include several new elements this season:
· a lively roundtable format offering strong opinions, discussion and debate centered on the games about to tip off and top storylines around the league
· increased access to some of the NBA's biggest stars
· re-occurring segments, such as those incorporated into ESPN's NBA season preview shows (e.g. trade him/keep him, step up/step back)
· increased interaction with fans via social media (e.g. commentators will more frequently answer fan questions submitted using social media)
Kia NBA Countdown is generally televised leading into ESPN's NBA games on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the season and preceding NBA Sunday game broadcasts on ABC.
SportsCenter recently televised a five-part series which offered a glimpse of the new Kia NBA Countdown:
On Miami's title chances:
Magic - "The only way the Heat win, it must be LeBron James' team. He must dominate the ball. He must get everybody into the flow of the game because he was the man for seven seasons in Cleveland. He always had the ball in his hands. He must have it in his hands to be effective. He must dominate the action in Miami.
"If they don't win it this season, one of the big three will have to go. Their window is right now. LeBron's window is right now."
On LeBron James:
Barry - "LeBron James is more like Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan. He's a combination of the two. Yes, it has to be his team, but they are at their best when Dwyane Wade is their No. 1 scorer. LeBron needs to play more as a point guard, more like Magic Johnson, where he still can dominate the game."