ESPN just posted an Outside The Lines report on the life of Dock Ellis, focusing on the night he supposedly threw a no hitter on LSD. The artwork looks strikingly similar to the artwork used by James Blagden in his collaborative Dock Ellis project with No Mas. While the article does cite the Blagden video (no credit to No mas, however), I wonder why they felt necessary to produce artwork that’s so strikingly similar.
ESPN’s Grantland has also recently exhibited some graphic design that looked almost identical to pioneering basketball blog FreeDarko’s artwork, without attribution (ESPN’s apparent unwillingness to attribute anything to other sites or blogs has already been well documented). Does the worldwide leader just have carte blanche to cop other people’s ideas? Is anyone considering litigation? Would that even be helpful? The explosion of information that is the Internetz have no doubt led to people having opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise. There have to be writers and artists willing to work without style jocking existing artists, and sites like ESPN should either a)find those artists, or b)just hire the original artists and pay them.
Ultimately, Ellis’ is a story that deserves to be told repeatedly and from multiple points of view, and while the ESPN article does present some new information it also rehashes a lot of what’s already in the video (and probably covers a lot of what’s in the upcoming documentary). Above, watch and enjoy the original creation of No Mas and James Blagden.
(Note: While writing this, I was panic stricken by the idea that maybe Deadspin had already taken the hatchet to this piece, and in doing so created some delicious irony. However, Deadspin is actually directly linking to the ESPN piece as a positive. Something seems wrong about this.)