'Embarrassing': Basil Zempilas roasted over horror on-air gaffe

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Basil Zempilas, pictured here on 7News.
Basil Zempilas has been roasted over his NBA gaffe. Image: 7News

Aussie NBA fans have shown Basil Zempilas no mercy after he butchered the names of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard on 7News.

The veteran presenter was talking about Antetokounmpo’s ejection for headbutting Moritz Wagner in an NBA game on Wednesday.

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However things went very wrong for Zempilas when he tried to pronounce Antetokounmpo’s name.

“One of the NBA’s biggest stars is in hot water on the eve of the playoffs, Giannis An-te-toka-toma-too was ejected for headbutting during the Bucks penultimate regular season game against the Wizards,” Zemplias said.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Zempilas also managed to add an extra “I” to Damian Lillard’s surname.

“Portland’s Damian Lill-i-ard scored a remarkable 61 points to get the Blazers over the line,” he said.

Zempilas certainly isn’t the first presenter to stumble over ‘Antetokounmpo’, and he certainly won’t be the last.

But fans weren’t in a particularly forgiving mood, roasting the Channel 7 veteran on social media.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, pictured here in action for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA.
Giannis Antetokounmpo in action against the Washington Wizards in the NBA. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

“This man really called him Giannis AN-te-TOKA-toma-TOO … and then made Dame a French man. Heaven help us,” ESPN Australia’s Olgun Uluc wrote.

Basketball analyst Josh Lloyd described it as “embarrassing”, while Adam Howes wrote: “On behalf of all Australian NBA fans, I’m sorry.”

NBA Australia’s Kane Pitman added: “Oh no, Australia has a little bit of work to do covering the NBA.”

While Rudi Edsall of Triple M wrote: “That Basil footage. The bit where he realises he’s cooked but just has to crash through is so good. Pure comedy.”

To his credit Zempilas saw the funny side of the gaffe, tweeting “not my best work” in response to a comment from West Coast Eagles player Nic Naitanui.

Lillard stars as Giannas lands in hot water

Lillard tied an NBA career-high with 61 points and assisted Hassan Whiteside on what proved to be the game-winning dunk in Portland's 134-131 defeat of Dallas.

Lillard also became the first player in Portland franchise history to score 50-plus points in consecutive games.

But while Lillard was re-writing the record books, Milwaukee star Antetokounmpo was making headlines for much more controversial reasons.

Antetokounmpo was ejected in the second quarter of Milwaukee's game against Washington for head-butting Wagner.

He was whistled for a charging foul for running into the Washington centre, the two then jawed briefly and Antetokounmpo lowered his head and somewhat gently drove his forehead into Wagner's left temple.

Neither player was injured, and Antetokounmpo was ejected immediately as the Bucks beat the Wizards 126-113.

Helping Lillard shoulder the offensive load for Portland was Carmelo Anthony, who scored 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor and 3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line.

Anthony and Lillard combined for 12 of Portland's 15 made 3-pointers.

with AAP