Watch: ESPN Gets Duped by Absurdly Fake LeBron James Message On-Air


Pelicans star Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans, and not even a $50,000 fine could keep his intentions a secret.

What is also not a secret is that the Lakers’ LeBron James would like Davis to come to Los Angeles. In December, LeBron said it would be “amazing” to play with him.

There is no harm in James saying he wants to play with Davis. However, if he were to go the extra step and openly recruit Davis to the Lakers, that could fall under the tampering umbrella, and James would risk league discipline.

With that being said, producers at ESPN apparently didn’t think that logic through when they threw up a fake Instagram comment in which James supposedly made a public overture to Davis to come to LA.

“Look what we found on Insta-Face,” “SportsCenter” anchor Neil Everett said. “LeBron James giving thumbs up to Anthony Davis’ wardrobe, and at the same time basically giving the middle finger to the NBA. Sheesh!”

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This aired on the 1 a.m. “SportsCenter” and went viral soon afterward.

At first glance it looks like it came from LeBron James’ Instagram account, but in reality it was created by Twitter user @sreekyshooter, who was amused that ESPN fell for his gag.

Did you believe that comment was from LeBron James when you first saw it?

“SportsCenter really just aired this fake screenshot that I made as an obvious joke hahahahaha,” he tweeted.

In regard to the $50,000 fine that Davis incurred for having his agent publicly request a trade, @sreekyshooter made another post in which James sends Davis the money to cover the fine via Venmo.

Many ardent followers of James on social media platforms pointed out that he would never use some of the language in that comment, which was one hint that it was a fake.

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Also, James has never been one to make his recruiting efforts so public like through a 10-day old Instagram post. He notoriously privately recruited Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade for four years before they all ended up with the Miami Heat.

But ESPN fell for it, as did so many others.

Meanwhile, both James and Davis are currently out with injuries, so in theory, they do have some extra time to privately communicate about playing with each other.

James went through a shootaround on Tuesday as he recovers from a groin injury. However, his status is still up in the air for Thursday’s game with the Clippers.

Davis has a fracture in his finger and his status is day-to-day. If he does end up getting traded this season, it will happen within the next week as the trade deadline is Feb. 7.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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