‘SportsCenter’ Anchor Cari Champion to Leave ESPN

She has been with ESPN since 2012, starting as host of “First Take”

Cari Champion is leaving ESPN, the “SportsCenter” anchor announced on Thursday.

“After consulting with mentors, family and friends, I have come to the decision that it’s time to leave ESPN,” Champion wrote on her Twitter account Thursday. “Over the past 7 years, I’ve grown from hosting First Take to having my own show on SportsCenter, and experiencing so much more in between.” She continued: “ESPN will always be apart of my legacy and I am proud to have been a part of theirs. I’m excited about the next chapter and will share soon!”

Champion joined ESPN in 2012 as the host of “First Take,” where she moderated Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless. Bayless has since left ESPN for Fox Sports where he hosts a similar show “Undisputed” with Shannon Sharpe. Max Kellerman came in to replace Bayless on “First Take,” which was re-tooled around Smith.

Champion then moved on to replace Michelle Beadle on the now-canceled “SportsNation.” She has hosted “SportsCenter” since 2015, most recently working on the midday broadcast alongside David Lloyd.

ESPN in its own statement Thursday said: “Cari has been a valued member of the ESPN family beginning with her time on ‘First Take,’ then on ‘SportsCenter’ and through her podcast. When she came to us asking to pursue opportunities outside ESPN, we were happy to support her and we wish her the best moving forward.”