An Open Letter Plea for Michael Jordan to Join Twitter
Dear Michael Jordan:
I never liked you as a player. In fact, I despised you, at least as much as someone can despise a person whom they've never met. This is probably because your Chicago Bulls always thwarted Patrick Ewing and my New York Knicks.
However, I still fully acknowledge that you're the greatest player in the history of the post-merger NBA.
So why don't you have a Twitter account for your millions of fans to follow you?
No, Michael, @Jumpman23 doesn't count. That's just a Nike account that currently links to a website featuring an even longer version of the commercial with Carmelo Anthony that I've already seen dozens of times.
I know, I know. Bill Russell does not have a Twitter account. But Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does, and he's got over 1.3 million followers. You're missing out, Mike.
NBA greats past and present have known for some time how valuable a Twitter account can be. Shaquille O'Neal and Magic Johnson are on it. Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Blake Griffin are all over it.
Michael, you know that if you played in the current era, you would certainly be on Twitter, probably talking smack on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
It is true, though, that you're in some good company with the Twitter-less.
Darren Rovell of ESPN.com did some investigation on his own Twitter feed, and his followers supplied him with a list of "the most-requested sports figures who currently are not on Twitter (in order): 1. Tom Brady, 2. Derek Jeter, 3. Michael Jordan, 4. Kobe Bryant, 5. Charles Barkley, 6. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 7. Peyton Manning, 8. Phil Mickelson, 9. Cam Newton, 10. Bobby Knight, 11. Maria Sharapova, 12. Tony Stewart, 13. Roger Federer, 14. Jon Gruden, 15. Rex Ryan."
Notice that there's only one other basketball player from your era on that list, and it's the brash (and title-less) Barkley. You don't want to be lumped in with him, do you?
As for Kobe, seemingly acting on a New Year's resolution, he finally caved and set up a Twitter account in the first week of 2013 after 16 years in the NBA.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Bryant proudly proclaimed, "The antisocial has become social #mambatweets," causing his own "hashtag" to "trend," and his "tweeps" promptly "retweeted" it over 50,000 times (I'll explain that terminology later, just "DM" me). Within hours, Kobe had hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers.
He even tweeted a bizarrely staged joke photo of himself preparing for pugilism with teammate Dwight Howard over the prostrate body of coach Mike D'Antoni. They had an alleged beef. What a great way to dispel a rumor!
But I know you can do better than Kobe. He doesn't even have as many championships as you. And you can be much funnier than him. I've seen the Hanes commercials. I know. Kobe probably has a "bacon neck."
Setting up an incredibly popular Twitter account would just be further proof to the world that there's yet another thing you're better at than Kobe—social media and microblogging. After all, you know how to market yourself.
Gatorade. Nike. Coca-Cola. Wheaties. McDonald's.
These companies have given you hundreds of millions of dollars for the use of your image to promote their products. Heck, even your silhouette is famous. It's a marketing tool. Why miss out on that?
And not only marketing, but consider the potential of Twitter for naming and shaming your enemies.
When La Gorce Country Club in Miami Beach asked you to change out of your cargo shorts mid-round, and then banned you after refusal, you could've delivered that reaction to millions of potential Twitter followers and personally called attention to the club's stuffy, antiquated and possibly racist policy about having too many pockets on your shorts.
Consider when Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine railed against Men's Wearhouse in early January.
While this did seem somewhat incongruous (someone in Megadeth needs to wear a suit?), it showed the widespread ripple effect that celebrity opinion can have on Twitter. The tweets were picked up by numerous news sources, if for no other reason that being good for a laugh.
And as for settling grudges, well, Twitter is great for it. I know you love carrying petty differences and slights with you across decades, because I remember your Hall of Fame induction speech.
On Twitter, you can take pot shots at Jeff Van Gundy, Bryon Russell and George Gervin all day long. Or at your high school coach, Pop Herring, who left you off the varsity team in sophomore year so many years ago.
You don't need a dais to name and shame, you just need a Twitter handle.
And did I mention that Twitter is great for discussing gambling? Can you believe how fast the line on the NFC Championship game went from the home team plus-three to plus-four?
Anyway, tweeting is amazing for numerous reasons. Please join, Michael.
You're missing out on an opportunity to humiliate Kobe Bryant, expand your brand even further, shame your enemies, point out old resentments and chat about spread betting.
A tweet is only an account away. We'll see you soon, MJ. With social media, it's not just the shoes.
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