Yesterday afternoon, NBA Centel, which has a bio that makes it explicitly clear that is is a parody of NBA Central, a different outlet that grabs snippets and repackages them for engagement, shared a graphic with a fabricated Kevin Durant quote about his own greatness.
Durant never said, “I’m 7′ tall and have the skillset of a shooting guard. I am the best scorer in NBA history, my only weakness is injuries.” Although he could have because the first part of what he says is definitely true and the second is open to at least some debate. Parody is not new and this certainly isn’t the end of the world, but the Buttcrackification of sports seems complete in our rapidly dissenting world of disinformation as the tweet racked up nearly a million views and was widely shared in 24 hours.
Many people pointed out that it was fake and it reached the chronically online Durant, who said it shows we’re reaching dangerous territory. He also donned his best Richard Deitsch hat and made a salient observation about the state of things.
Sadly, we all are in a chokehold. The chokehold of a mildly funny bit where people just lie to get attention and then brag about tricking major outlets so they can add them to their running list of where they’ve been featured. A charitable read is that they are trying to hold a mirror up to society and prove how easy it is to fool people online. And … yeah, it is. That’s sort of the problem here. The governor of believing others would have qualms about fabricating quotes and putting words in someone’s mouth that will draw then a bunch of unwarranted, negative attention has been disabled. It’s a joke to some that everyone has to scramble to clean up the mess they are trying to make while they just try to make it more of one.
Durant thinks highly of his game and it’s not insane that he would say this. The account has a blue checkmark which used to mean something and now only means they pay Twitter eight bucks a month. The gotcha moment comes when plebe and pundit alike fail to click their mouse a few times more and pour over a bio page.
On principle it’s extraordinarily important to know that Durant didn’t anoint himself as the greatest scorer of time. But in practice it doesn’t matter because enough people saw the made-up boast and will either to continue thinking it’s real or, predictably, bombard him with blowback that isn’t deserved.
We’re not interested in being the fun police here yet it’s worth pointing out that there are some elements that really suck. It will only get worse because, somehow, there’s an eyeball economy that rewards and no shortage of gullible people. Should be fun.