Earlier today Dan LeBatard tweeted that ESPN had landed the Kevin Durant of the sports media industry. The only debate is whether Adrian Wojnarowski deserves to be called the LeBron James of reporting instead.In what is without question one of the network’s best moves in recent memory, ESPN has come to terms with Wojnarowski. He’s expected to start his tenure with the company on July 1st, the first day of NBA free agency.
Wojnarowski is reportedly bringing a number of staff members from The Vertical with him to the worldwide leader. Whether that includes Chris Mannix, Bobby Marks or Shams Charania is unclear. It’s also unknown how The Vertical platform will be presented under the ESPN umbrella.
It’s no secret that ESPN laid off a number of NBA reporters in April and May. Among the affected were Marc Stein, Chad Ford, Henry Abbott, Calvin Watkins and Ethan Sherwood Strauss. Although it may not be enjoyable to see those fine reporters lose opportunities, from a business standpoint, one can’t blame ESPN for making a big commitment to Wojnarowski and his team to improve their NBA news gathering and analysis.
Despite working with less advantages at Yahoo Sports, Wojnarowski has become the most trusted source in sports reporting. He’s been at the forefront of nearly every NBA story and has done it for a consistent period of time. In addition, he’s also made strong gains in the podcasting and digital video spaces.
For all of the criticism ESPN endures for other issues, it’s only fair to point out when they get things right. The addition of Woj and his Vertical team significantly upgrades ESPN’s news breaking abilities and with NBA free agency right around the corner, the timing couldn’t be better for both parties.