NBA Players Making a Mess on Social Media
Coaches and team management have a hard enough time getting NBA players to say the right things on the court and to the media, but in the world of social networks and Twitter, players now have a public outlet for their thoughts, taunts and musings 24 hours a day. For example, Drew Gooden's "ghetto Christmas."
There are various ways to make an online mess for all to see. You can tweet out something embarrassing or you can taunt opponents and your former teams. Worse yet, you can call out a respected journalist and betray your own medical confidentiality.
You can even type like a hardened criminal and send out a raunchy picture of a large caboose in a thong.
Yes, social media is a fantastic thing, partly because you can watch famous athletes screw up their reputations so royally.
I've ranked the disastrousness of each athlete's social media presence by their progressive outrageousness. Here are six players making a complete mess of things using only a Twitter account.
Portland Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard has a curious phobia:
I like DC. I wana come back and visit the memorials even though I'm scared of statues— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) November 28, 2012
Hmmmm. I suppose Abe Lincoln is pretty spooky after all. Good thing for Lillard that he attended Weber State in Ogden, Utah, instead of Georgetown.
Having been to Portland myself, it's fortunate for Lillard that there aren't many statues around the city. Although there is Portlandia, the second largest copper statue in the country after the Statue of Liberty. Scary!
Lillard then clarified his fear via Twitter, stating that he's only frightened of "historic statues" like Martin Luther King Jr. This traces back to a "bad experience at the wax museum." In fairness, wax museums can be pretty scary (though they're not really statues, per se).
Jeff Zigglitt of USA Today scored an interview with Lillard to pursue the matter further. Lillard went into detail about the spooky wax museum experience:
The last room was Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln—all these big-time historic people, and it looked just like them. Same size. They had music playing in the room to set the mood, and it just threw me off. Ever since then, I'm done. Even at Lake Oswego [near Portland], I drive past the cemetery, and there's a statue of Jesus with his hands up. That even scared me. I don't mess with statues no more.
Well, so much for never letting them see you sweat. His secret is out. But other than that, Lillard has been a model citizen on Twitter, commenting on modern grammar, defending Dwight Howard, brushing off criticism from armchair point guards and noting his excitement at meeting both Flavor Flav and Andrew Luck.
You can file this one under "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."
After coming to the Denver Nuggets in a trade and signing a four-year, $44 million contract, JaVale McGee wanted to give back to his fans and break bread with them.
Back in September, he invited 10 fans to join him for burritos at Chipotle. Good idea, right? The problem: Only one fan showed up (per Mile High Sports).
Granted, he only gave fans about five minutes of notice, so chalk this one up to poor planning.
At least he did treat one fan, Andy Mathisen (aka @3st0andrew3, self-proclaimed fan of the Broncos and Jayhawks, although no mention of the Nuggets), who tweeted his thanks.
McGee also took a photo with the fan and posted that on Twitter, but for some reason he deleted that photo and the initial tweet (perhaps due to the failure of his lunch invitation which went semi-viral). In fact, it seems that McGee deletes all his tweets, as the only thing on his timeline are retweets. Perhaps he needs a Twitter tutorial.
At least Mathisen shared the picture with pride.
Kudos to McGee's fighting spirit, however, as he issued another invitation to his tweeps to grab lunch at Noodles and Company the very next day (he has since deleted that tweet as well, but Yahoo! Sports has a screen grab of it). And this time, he gave fans a few hours of advanced notice.
This should have been easy for Mathisen to find, as the noodle joint is located directly next to the ill-fated Chipotle. McGee also appears to have bought two people 24 donuts in late September.
Perhaps McGee could learn a lesson or two from unemployed NFLer Chad Ochocinco nee Johnson, who succeeded in treating 200 of his Twitter followers to a slap-up feast of soul food at the famed Sylvia's in Harlem. Although, that outing cost him $8,000 that he probably could use right about now.
J.R. Smith is a very talented player, but he's also a bit of a knucklehead. If you need proof, I refer you to the copious silly fouls he commits, including needless technicals, flagrants and personal fouls on three-point shots.
He's the little girl with the curl. When he is good, he is very good indeed, but when he is bad, he is horrid.
Despite it all, he is always entertaining. He frequently stays up all night engaging in flirtatious and volatile exchanges on Twitter. Or sometimes he just invites fans to go for a 2:30 a.m. bike ride.
And Smith is no stranger to Twitter controversies. Back in 2009, he was sending tweets using spelling that emulated gang members (per Denver Post), which led to him shutting down his account. Briefly.
In March of this year, Smith tweeted out a photo from his Milwaukee hotel room. It showed a young woman in a thong with a, shall we say, especially large posterior. Deadspin did a commendable job of chronicling the larger context of the back-and-forth on Twitter, including the young lady's indignation and Smith's boasting about it to her ex-boyfriend, rapper Joe Budden.
That incident earned him a $25,000 fine from the league.
In September, Smith spent some time flirting via Twitter with singer K. Michelle. The gossip website Bossip has created a slideshow of the exchange if you're interested for some reason.
In November, following the Knicks' first loss of the season, he called the Memphis Grizzlies "fake tuff guys," though they actually seem really tough.
And through all this, Smith's larger-than-life online persona has caused much consternation to a poor chap who is not a fan of basketball, but has the misfortune of also being named J.R. Smith.
So much collateral damage. So many tweets.
Note: Some links and clauses in the Drew Gooden, Andray Blatche and Royce White slides have been reprinted from my previous article, "Breakout Twitter and Instagram Stars of the NBA."
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