ESPN’s decision to use a doctored video after Damian Lillard’s emphatic performance during his debut for the Milwaukee Bucks has sparked outrage. The network’s SportsCenter Instagram account ended up using a clip from Dame’s time at the Portland Trail Blazers during the NBA Bubble back in 2020.
ESPN then went on to doctor the clip by editing in Dame’s Bucks’ jersey and number, in addition to a court logo. However, the awkward nature of the changes ended up tipping fans off, who reacted angrily. The video even ended up inspiring an article from Sports Illustrated, which recently popped up on the r/NBA subreddit.
Quite a few Twitter users were quick to identify the real source of the video, with one hilariously questioning whether ESPN had used AI or NBA 2K in order to create the video:
“TF is this? AI or 2K? SportsCenter really tweeting this out? Smh.”
TF is this? AI or 2K?
SportsCenter really tweeting this out? Smh https://t.co/bXOxHE4yiE
— sqr (@squaresense) October 27, 2023
Another accurately claimed that the video was basically from years ago.
“Literally the video from the bubble a couple of years ago lol.”
Literally the video from the bubble a couple of years ago lol
— Lex (@lexholl12) October 27, 2023
One fan simply wanted to know the logic behind ESPN’s use of the old clip and decision to alter it drastically:
“Why use an old clip from the covid days, digitally put him in a Bucks jersey and pretend he just said that?”
This is an old clip that has been altered to make it seem like he just said this. Even still, Dame in the personification of standing on business. As a Blazer fan, sad to see him go, but happy to see him go to a contender and getting the proper attention he deserves.
— Kegness (@Kegness_) October 27, 2023
While fans were rightfully disappointed, one Blazers fan seemed to have been hit by nostalgia due to the clip. They immediately recognized its source and claimed that the Dame deserved to play for a championship contender:
“This is an old clip that has been altered to make it seem like he just said this. Even still, Dame in the personification of standing on business. As a Blazer fan, sad to see him go, but happy to see him go to a contender and getting the proper attention he deserves.”
Why use an old clip from the covid days, digitally put him in a Bucks jersey and pretend he just said that?
— Chris Apenbrink (@Apenbrink) October 27, 2023
While the clip comes as a bit of a shock, Lillard’s debut presented little surprise. He was determined to start with a win, and recorded 39 points and 8 rebounds, ensuring that his team ended up winning.
ESPN comes under fire after Damian Lillard’s Bucks debut
Lillard’s move to the Bucks alongside Giannis makes the franchise one of the firm favorites for the title this year. While ESPN did not state that the clip was recent, the needlessness of the editing as well as the attempt to present it as a recent video seemed to irk fans.
The network seemed guilty of trying to create a false narrative, and how the video was pulled off also brought forth criticism from fans. Additionally, the fact that the clip was not even recent, and was in truth during his time in Portland seems to have further impacted ESPN’s credibility, in the eyes of the fans.
Regardless, Bucks’ fans will not be affected, and seem to be entering an entertaining season. While Dame might not have made the comments anytime recently, he surely is determined to land the first championship of his career alongside the Greek Freak.
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