Mark Jones makes stimulus check reference on Damian Lillard dunk Photo credit: ESPN

Everyone knows what a stimulus check is, but no one knows why ESPN’s Mark Jones referenced it after a thunderous dunk by Damian Lillard.

Wednesday night, Lillard returned to Portland for the first time as a visiting player after orchestrating a trade from the Trail Blazers to the Milwaukee Bucks prior to the season tipping off. Trailing by three late in the fourth quarter, Lillard drove past Deandre Ayton and quieted the crowd with a dunk that cut the lead to one.

But fans watching on ESPN at home didn’t even have time to enjoy the dunk because they were left to figure out what play-by-play voice Mark Jones was talking about during his call of the slam.

“Dame rises up and punches it home,” Jones said. “He hit that like a stimulus check! Dame Lillard! Makes it a one-point game.”

Like a stimulus check? What does that even mean? Obviously, we know what a stimulus check is, everyone became well versed in the economic impact payment as they were handed out during the pandemic. But how do they relate to Lillard’s dunk? NBA fans weren’t sure.

Did Mark Jones even know how stimulus checks related to Lillard’s dunk. Maybe because it was an uncontested dunk? Easy points, easy money? You could probably make a case for a stimulus check reference if it was an assist and the year was 2021. Something like, ‘Dame’s distributing the ball like it’s a stimulus check…’ But we’re reaching here.

For whatever reason, Jones had stimulus checks on the mind and seemed hellbent on working it into the game if the situation ever arose. It didn’t, and he still made the reference.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to