Efren Landaos/SOPA Images/ShutterstockStephen A. Smith Added to ESPN’s NBA Coverage Shawn Grant August 22, 2019 Source Sports | News, Highlights and Interviews, TV ESPN really just needs to rename the network after Stephen A. Smith. The most popular personality on the sports network will be on another show, as he is reportedly being added to the NBA studio coverage. The co-host of First Take will be added to the ESPN NBA roster in an effort for the show to become as popular as TNT’s Inside the NBA broadcast, which stars Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal. The Big Lead also reports ESPN will adjust the times for tips to earlier hoping to increase the number of viewers that will be turning in. That effort may cut NBA Countdown, but there will still be a need for Sportscenter NBA crews before the game, in addition to halftime segments. Michelle Beadle, who hosted the pregame and halftime ESPN segments last season, will not be returning and will be replaced by the combination of The Jump host Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor.