We’ve seen lots of fake reporter stories over the years, but it’s more unusual to see a real reporter and a fake interview. That seems to be what happened Wednesday with an article on top NBA prospect Victor Wembanyama that was published on FIBA.com, the website of the International Basketball Federation. As per Joe Morgan of Fox News, Wembanyama called out the quotes in the article as fake on an Instagram story Wednesday:
Most hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James calls out ‘fake’ article, FIBA apologizes https://t.co/nVHhmHaAyx
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 23, 2023
That led to this apology, piece deletion, and relationship termination with the freelancer in question (who was not named) by FIBA:
— FIBA Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) February 22, 2023
As mentioned above, there have been plenty of cases of fake reporters, fake Twitter accounts, and fake quotes in sports. But fabricated quotes in an article are a little more unusual. There have been several high-profile cases of that in the news media, but those have often centered around “man on the street” quotes that would seemingly be harder to prove as false (even if they were eventually disproved in the end). Doing this with an extremely prominent athlete (presuming that Wembanyama’s denial is accurate) with his own massive social media platform to call you out is certainly a choice, and not a good one.
It’s also interesting that this came out right around the same time as an actual prominent interview with Wembanyama (who’s seen above during an Oct. 4 game against the G-League Ignite, featured in the G-League’s “The Break” docuseries). That would be the March Sports Illustrated cover story, written by recently-laid-off writer Jeremy Woo:
Well, I’m excited to share my final piece for Sports Illustrated, which happens to be this month’s cover story – I went to Paris to find out what makes Victor Wembanyama tick. On the making of a generational prospect: https://t.co/bEAV2QsPfS
— Jeremy Woo (@JeremyWoo) February 21, 2023
So, that’s an option to read if you’re looking for actual quotes from Wembanyama. And not ones invented by a FIBA.com contributor.
[Fox News; photo from Lucas Peltier/USA Today Sports]