- Lillard appears to be talking about his arrival in Milwaukee after his Bucks debut
- Instead, the footage appears to be from the NBA bubble in late 2020
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ESPN’s social media team is accused of creating a “deep fake” using reused three-year-old footage from an interview with Damian Lillard following the All-Star’s triumphant debut with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The clip appeared on SportsCenters Thursday night
“There’s nothing I want more,” Lillard, 33, said in the clip. “I told you, when I first came here, I said I wasn’t coming here to waste my time.”
At first glance, Lillard appeared to be talking after Thursday’s season-opening win over the Sixers. The former Portland Trail Blazers star reportedly spoke about his arrival in Milwaukee and his expectations for his first season with his new team.
But closer inspection revealed discrepancies with the field design and strange details about the ESPN microphone. Ultimately, fans discovered that the clip was originally recorded in 2020, when Lillard and his Trail Blazers competed in the NBA’s Orlando-based, COVID-resistant bubble during the pandemic.
ESPN’s social media team is accused of creating a “deep fake” from a 2020 Lillard clip
The original clip appears to have been filmed in the NBA’s Orlando bubble in August 2020
So Lillard wasn’t talking about his arrival in Milwaukee, but rather his now-former team’s chances of advancing to the 2020 postseason at Disney World, where much of the league relocated during the coronavirus-disrupted season.
“Don’t do this,” wrote longtime NBA reporter Kelly Dwyer in response to the video.
“Why hasn’t this completely irresponsible post been deleted yet?” asked Forbes’ Shane Young.
The fans were less friendly.
“Lol Sportscenter used to be a clown competition but this is just sad,” one wrote. “ESPN is a joke too.”
Another note: The Bucks wore a jersey that said “MILWAUKEE” in Thursday’s win.
Not only is the footage likely from a clip from 2020, but the interview was also conducted by TNT
As many have pointed out, the Bucks logo seen behind Lillard in the clip is faded in, as is the Milwaukee jersey the perennial All-Star wore in the footage. In fact, it wasn’t even the real Bucks jersey that was slipped on Lillard.
In addition, Lillard speaks with a microphone attached to an elongated boom – which was common in the year following the COVID-19 pandemic but is no longer typically used.
The original footage actually appears to come from a TNT interview with Lillard at the end of the 2019-20 season.
ESPN spokespeople did not immediately respond to Mail Sport’s request for comment on Friday evening.