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‘Maria needs a raise’: Ex-NBA star lobbies for gender equality campaigner on live TV as female host ‘pushes for $8MN ESPN salary’

‘Maria needs a raise’: Ex-NBA star lobbies for gender equality campaigner on live TV as female host ‘pushes for $8MN ESPN salary’
NBA host Maria Taylor's reported shunning of a contract in pursuit of a payday that would rake in a salary close to $8 million has been enthusiastically backed by former baller Jalen Rose, who has insisted she "needs a raise".

Glamorous NBA analyst Taylor is said to be at risk of becoming the latest hugely-followed name to leave the broadcaster, which has lost the likes of NFL mainstay Kenny Mayne and MMA oracle Ariel Helwani this year.

Owners Disney are said to be keeping a close eye on ESPN's finances in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, although Taylor was offered a raise on her current $1 million deal that could eventually earn her as much as $5 million each year, according to the New York Post.

A star of the 'NBA Countdown' show, figurehead for college football coverage and host of the NCAA Women’s Tournament, popular Taylor is also involved in NFL shows, and has become involved in a face-off with her employers after being offered between $2 million and $3 million annually, the outlet said.

Fellow pundit and former Chicago Bulls Jalen Rose clearly believes Taylor is worth every penny.

“If you’re great at what you do, you deserve the bag,” he heard analyst Reggie Jackson say during a live broadcast alongside him, speaking about Los Angeles Clippers breakout star Reggie Jackson.

Rose responded: “If that’s the case, Maria needs a raise."

Taylor laughed through the seconds that followed, adding "everybody's playing for the bag" as the show swiftly moved on following a surprise segment that the post said had created "somewhat of an awkward overcast."

Should the $8 million mooted figure be correct, it would put Taylor on a par with Stephen A Smith – one of ESPN's top dogs and most recognizable faces.

Taylor has passionately spoken out on equal pay in the past, telling her following of more than 255,000 on Instagram: "You deserve to be appreciated and celebrated and told that you're phenomenal – because that's what you are."

She claimed that society routinely tells women they are "less valuable than the male version" of themselves, adding: "We know that's simply not true.

"I see [women in the position of] CEO, I see the future MVP of the WNBA. I see an entrepreneur that's going to make millions and billions of dollars.

"I see that, right now, you are the future of our country – and that's why, right now, you deserve the best. And I really hope that you get that."

Taylor's deal expires on July 20, according to the post – potentially putting her out of contract in the event of the NBA Finals running to seven games, which would mean they finish on July 22.

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