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ESPN hires Chauncey Billups to be NBA studio analyst

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Chauncey Billups may have retired, but he's not leaving the game. Instead, the charismatic point guard is making the jump to TV, hooking up with ESPN to be a studio analyst, reports Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch. Billups spoke with SI about his move into broadcasting on Tuesday:

“I’m the kind of guy who has to be two feet in if I am going to give my best effort so broadcasting is something I looking at long-term,” said Billups, 37. “This is what I want to do and the avenue I want to take. At the moment, I’m not thinking about working in an NBA front office or coaching or anything else. I’m thinking about being the best I can be at ESPN in the studio.”

Billups said he’s been interested in broadcasting for a couple of years and made it a point to do guest interviews when he could as his career closed. Asked if he could be critical of players and coaches in the league, including many who are his friends, Billups said, “There is a good and a bad way to handle everything. The kind of leader and teammate that I was, at every stop I made I was always honest with guys and honest with myself. I think that was the reason I grew to have the reputation I had in the league. It won’t be any different to be honest about a guy’s performance. That’s not anything I’m worried about. It’s not going to be personal and I’m not going to bash their personal character. But I will talk about their game if they are not performing to a certain standard."

I predict Billups will make a successful transition into broadcasting, but despite his claims about taking the long-term view, I also predict he'll eventually land a front-office job -- he's too smart not to be given the chance if he wants it. But this is a nice soft landing into his post-playing career after 17 grueling seasons, allowing him more time to spend with his family while also staying involved with the game.

ESPN might still lag behind TNT in terms of overall entertainment, but between Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons and now Billups, they're closing the gap.