ESPN faces backlash for misleading social media interview video of Bucks star Damian Lillard
Seven-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard had a strong debut with the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this week. He finished Thursday’s game with 39 points.
Lillard’s 39 points were the most a player has scored in a Bucks debut. Terry Cummings set the previous team record when he scored 34 points in 1984 in his first game with the Bucks.
The Bucks acquired Lillard last month in a three-team blockbuster trade. The three-team deal also sent guard Jrue Holiday and center Deandre Ayton to the Portland Trail Blazers. Holiday was traded to the Boston Celtics a few days later.
Lillard’s performance was filled with several social media-worthy moments, but one particular video sparked some controversy.
After the game, SportsCenter’s social media accounts posted a video of the Bucks star speaking into a microphone with an ESPN flag, saying, “Ain’t nothing I want more. I told you when I first came here. I said ‘I didn’t come here to waste my time.”
The video in question also featured the following caption: “DAME DIDN’T COME TO MILWAUKEE TO WASTE HIS TIME.”
ESPN did not broadcast the Bucks’ first game of the season, which prompted some social media users to question whether the video had be doctored. Lillard was wearing a Bucks jersey in the video, and the team’s logo could be seen in the background.
Lillard actually wore a jersey that said “Milwaukee” across the chest area, not the team’s “Bucks” jerseys. Also, the Bucks home arena, Fiserv Forum, does not feature the NBA logo at center court. The type of microphone stick that was seen in the video was frequently used during the NBA bubble.
As of Saturday, a disclaimer appears below the video.
“The video in the tweet has been digitally edited to change Lillard’s uniform, a logo on the floor, and add ESPN’s logo to the microphone flag. The original video is from the NBA’s 2020 bubble,” the note stated.
In the original video, a TNT reporter is seen interviewing Lillard in 2020 inside the bubble.
ESPN released a statement saying the video had not been made in an attempt to “misrepresent” or to combine sports moments.
“We occasionally look to connect sports moments of the past with contemporary imagery and storylines as part of our social content. While it was never our intention to misrepresent anything for fans, we completely recognize how this instance caused confusion.”
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