Retired NBA player Jalen Rose is one of the twenty on-air personalities laid off from ESPN. Reports are saying that the whopping layoffs blindsided many and they are unrelated to the multi-round Disney layoffs implemented in recent months.
ESPN is letting go of about 20 on-air personalities, including two familiar names to NBA viewers: game analyst Jeff Van Gundy and studio co-host Jalen Rose.
Keyshawn Johnson, a former NFL player who had co-hosted ESPN Radio’s national morning show in one of many chapters in a 16-year run on ESPN, is also among those leaving. Also out is Max Kellerman, Johnson’s radio co-host as well as host of This Just In and formerly Stephen A. Smith’s longtime sparring partner on daily morning TV staple First Take.
A person familiar with the cutbacks told Deadline they are unrelated to the multi-round Disney layoffs implemented in recent months. Those reductions saw a number of senior-level execs leave ESPN but spared on-air talent. The source indicated that many of those affected by the new cuts have contracts beyond June 30 and will paid out accordingly, but parting ways will enable ESPN to avoid wider layoffs. The sports operation is now its own division of Disney, making its financials more visible.