J.A. Adande is a native of Los Angeles, California. He grew up an avid basketball fan, and idolized Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Chick Hearn, who was a famed play by play announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Jim Murray, who was a sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
He attended Northwestern University and earned his undergraduate degree in journalism in 1992. While at Northwestern, he served as sports editor for the student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern.
Post-graduation, he worked as a writer for the Chicago Sun-Times covering football and basketball for the University of Illinois and the Chicago Bulls. He later became a reporter for The Washington Post where he covered college football and basketball, and the Washington Bullets - now known as the Washington Wizards.
Adande was able to return to his hometown when he became a sports columnist for the L.A. Times, writing for the publication for 10 years and giving readers his view on the sports world, including Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
Adande then worked as a sports columnist for ESPN.com covering the NBA and was also a sideline reporter for NBA games. He joined ESPN as a panelist for the show “Around the Horn” in 2002 and became a regular in 2007. He also serves as a guest host on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption.”
A member of the National Association for Black Journalists (NABJ), his work has been featured in the “Best American Sports Writing” series. In 2007, he published his book, “The Best Los Angeles Sports Arguments.”
Adande served as an adjunct professor for USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism from 2004 to 2015, but has now rejoined the academic realm at Northwestern. In August 2016, Adande left his full-time position at ESPN and announced via Twitter that he would be the new director of sports journalism for the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing, where he will also work as an associate professor.
He will continue to contribute to ESPN and “Around the Horn” on a contract basis while heading the sports program at the Medill School.