Retired Senior Writer, ESPN
Jackie MacMullan recently retired as a television analyst and senior writer for ESPN. In April of 2022, she completed a narrative podcast series for The Ringer entitled The NBA Icons. She worked at the Boston Globe for 19 years as a columnist, reporter and associate editor. She was the first full-time female sports columnist in the history of the paper.
MacMullan also worked as a senior writer for Sports Illustrated from 1995-2000 covering the National Basketball Association.
She has won numerous national writing awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors, including first place for investigative reporting, feature writing and, in 2018, for special projects. She has written several books: Bird Watching (1999), Geno: In Pursuit of Perfection (2006), When the Game was Ours (2009) and Shaq Uncut (2011). The latter two were both New York Times bestsellers. She also collaborated on the 2018 book Basketball: A Love Story, an oral history of the game associated with the celebrated ESPN film series of the same name.
MacMullan was inducted into the National Sportswriters Association (NSMA) Hall of Fame in June of 2022. In February of 2019, MacMullan was awarded the prestigious PEN American Lifetime Achievement Award in Literary Sports Writing, becoming the first female to be honored. In June of that same year, she was honored by the Association of Women in Sports Media (AWSM) as its Mary Garber Pioneer Award winner.
In 2010, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame presented MacMullan with the Curt Gowdy Award, given to the person who has made “outstanding contributions to basketball.’’ MacMullan was the first female recipient of the award.
In 2019, Mass General Hospital chose MacMullan as its winner of the Endowment Award for Leadership in the Advancement of Mental Health for her five-part series on the struggles of NBA players to achieve mental wellness.
The New England Patriots recognized MacMullan’s charitable endeavors by presenting her with the Ron Burton Community Service Award in 2009. The Franciscan Life Center gave her the Saint Clare Award in 2014 for “demonstrating Christian values in sport.’’
In 2015, the Women’s Leadership Exchange presented MacMullan with its Compass Award and in 2014, the organization WISE (Women in Sports Events) presented MacMullan with its inaugural Women of Inspiration award. UMass-Lowell chose MacMullan as its first ever recipient of “For the Love of Sport’’ award in 2011.
MacMullan was awarded an honorary degree by Emmanuel College in May of 2018 and delivered the school’s commencement address. Muhlenberg College presented MacMullan with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2015.
Other organizations that have honored MacMullan include Fairfield University (2015, Stags Lifetime Achievement Award), the New England Basketball Hall of Fame (2004, inducted as its youngest media recipient), the Institute of Sport and Society (2003), the New England Women’s Leadership Awards (1997) and Tufts University (1995, Distinguished Achievement Award).
MacMullan is a cum laude graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where she played four seasons of basketball, leading the team in scoring as a sophomore and serving as a team captain in her senior year. MacMullan was inducted into UNH’s Hall of Honor in 2001. In September of 2017, the University of New Hampshire recognized MacMullan with one of its highest honors, the Distinguished Alumni Award.
MacMullan is involved in a number of charities, among them Huntington’s Disease Society of America, for whom she served as national spokesperson in 2000, the New England Hemophilia Association, and Shooting Touch, for whom she traveled to Rwanda in March 2017 to conduct clinics and health education programs.Aside from her ESPN duties, which included a recurring presence on the Around the Horn (its first female panelist) and The Jump, MacMullan is also a correspondent for WHDH-TV in Boston.
MacMullan is married to Michael Boyle and has two children.