There is nothing worse than an athlete who is a bland tweeter.
OK, there are a few things worse. Like losing a World Series game on a bogus obstruction call. That's worse.
In any case, hearing that your favorite athlete has joined Twitter can be a day-maker. You begin to ponder all of the spectacular behind-the-scenes photos you'll have access to, all of the postgame rants to which you'll be privy, all of the virtual trash talking that will ensue between your fave and his mortal enemies.
When an athlete actually lives up to those expectations, it's a glorious, glorious thing.
When you use Twitter to advertise your own personal bulletin board material leading up to a huge game, it's all good and well, but if you're going to make such a big deal out of the mean things someone else said, you better be able to perform on the field.
Oh, Arian Foster.
We all remember when, during last year's NFL playoffs, Foster changed his Twitter avatar to an image of a mean newspaper article written by The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy. Shaughnessy referred to Foster and the Texans as "tomato cans." Burn, right?
It burned even more when the Texans got owned by the Patriots less than a week later for the right to advance to the AFC title game.
It makes sense that Foster felt the need to "leave the digital realm" and "shut down his Twitter account." But it still exists, so perhaps there's hope that one day, he will return to us all.
Clearly, being off Twitter has not improved his on-field performance in the slightest, so he might as well come back, right? Right. Don't deprive the people, Arian.
Eddie Royal is finally getting recognized for more than his Twitter behavior. He emerged this season as something of a fantasy darling after tallying five touchdowns within the first two weeks of the season, and he's cooled off completely since then, but it was fun while it lasted.
And now, as he fades back into relative fantasy obscurity, he can return his full attention to Twitter.
Royal thrives on Twitter. He seems like a nice dude, he's funny, and he enjoys pop culture word plays on his name:
You're right about that! Lol RT @PierreGarcon: And we will never be royals— Eddie Royal (@EddieRoyalWR) October 24, 2013
He's also a huge mama's boy, which is pretty endearing:
Me and my momma...I love that woman http://t.co/XmLskXerWp— Eddie Royal (@EddieRoyalWR) October 18, 2013
In a day and age when 99 percent of athletes use Twitter to be jerks, the Eddie Royals of the world are rather refreshing.
No more will Seth Curry be known as the little brother of Steph Curry. By God, he will make a name for himself, even if he has to use Twitter to do so.
Thus far, it's working, kind of.
Seth Curry may be a current free agent and a former Duke Blue Devil and that's pretty much it, but he will not let his NBA dreams die, and until they become a reality, he will tweet.
He will tweet "Happy Birthday" messages at literally everyone he knows. He will tweet inspiration phrases about himself, such as:
I will be good! The journey doesn't stop and the goal remains the same. Back to work in the AM.. Congrats to my dudes Mase and Ryan!— Seth Curry (@sdotcurry) June 28, 2013
And he will tweet photos of himself twerking at his brother's golf tournament. Well, not really but you'll see.
Winning at Twitter doesn't always mean you're being nice. No. You can just as easily win at Twitter by being a giant fool.
We understand why Logan Morrison may be cranky. He plays for the Miami Marlins. He hit .242 this year and hasn't hit over .247 since his rookie season in 2010. Apparently, his only respite is taking out his aggression on Twitter with random, semi-offensive tweets such as this (deleted, but preserved by San Francisco Gate).
Rule No. 1: Never tweet a photo of a random woman breastfeeding.
He also isn't afraid to take on any blogger who dares to question him.
When your Twitter behavior compels your GM to say things like, "It takes an entire career to build a reputation, and one tweet to lose it. As long as he understands that, it’s fine," you know you're doing something right.
Or, you know, entertaining.
Kevin Durant seems so nice. But he has spunk. See: his Twitter account.
Durant really wants to be the best player in the world. He really wants to be an NBA champion. But there are two problems: One, he is not LeBron James, and two, he is not a member of the Miami Heat.
In the meantime, though, he can use Twitter to troll his NBA peers, like he did to Dwyane Wade when Wade Instagrammed a photo of which the moral was, Durant doesn't respect me so I have to make him respect me.
Show me don't tweet me..— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) September 25, 2013
He also is not afraid to troll fans of his alma mater, the University of Texas.
Richard Sherman loves to fight. He loves to trash talk. There is nothing more exciting to someone who lives for trash talking than the fact that on Twitter, they can do it all day, every day.
Sherman has had a long-standing Twitter feud with Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis, during which the only challenge has been keeping his senseless barbs down to 140 characters or less. Some samples:
@Revis24 don't need ya name... Ur name will be irrelevant once u step back on the field bruh. Get ya picks up!— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 20, 2013
Got off my flight to this hilarious convo. So I have 8 picks 3 ff and a sack. My season stats looking like Revis career stats— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 20, 2013
Now if only Tom Brady would get on Twitter…
Most athletes know how to use Twitter properly. They know what not to say and when to refuse to engage the trolls.
Then, there's Johnny Manziel, who just doesn't care.
We have to cut him some slack. He's a sophomore in college. In the grand scheme of things college sophomores tweet, this isn't bad at all.
There was the time he disparaged the city that built him (since deleted).
And there was the time he let the fans choose his Halloween costume in a Twitter contest with Outkick the Coverage. You can hate Manziel all you want, but the guy knows how to keep his Twitter fans happy.
Anyone who will throw tantrums like the one issued by Dez Bryant on the sideline of Sunday's game against the Lions has to be a solid Twitter follow, right?
The Cowboys can take away Bryant's freedom. They can stick him with 24/7 security and hide him from the rest of the world unless it's Sunday. But they cannot take away his ability to tweet.
As such, we get to be privy to his bromance with Kevin Durant:
Dez Bryant I'm Rollin with u!! I love the passion— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) October 29, 2013
And we get to observe his passive aggressive remarks about what it's like to be in the spotlight:
I see I have to be extra careful about what I say— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) October 22, 2013
Yes, Dez. That's usually the way it works when you're a professional athlete. But by all means, keep tweeting.
It isn't every day that super-superstar athletes engage on Twitter. Think about the other major sports. Tom Brady doesn't tweet. Peyton Manning doesn't tweet. David Ortiz and Derek Jeter and A-Rod don't tweet. Some hockey players tweet, but usually it isn't long before they're stripped of their rights by the Powers That Be.
So that makes it all the more awesome that LeBron James is such a frequent user. He is perhaps the biggest sports star in the world right now, and he still makes time for the little people on the interwebs.
He live tweets NFL games. He gets really into it:
It's all bad around me right now. Don't even come close to me!! U may get seriously hurt. Smdh at that L man! We got the jank— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 27, 2013
And he makes funny jokes:
Larry David came and check out Bronny at his soccer game this morning. http://t.co/7pqd3WHOsZ— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 26, 2013
Twitter. Yet another thing that LeBron is the best at.
Lots of big sports fans like to bet. Even if they don't admit it, they do it, and when they win big, they're really proud of it.
Take Floyd Mayweather, for example. Big sports fan. Puts up big money. Tweets about it when his investments pay off.
In late September, after the Aggies took down SMU 42-13, Mayweather was downright jolly. He told the whole world that he won $200,000 after betting on the Aggies to cover the first-half spread, and even though he later deleted it, it has been preserved forever by USA Today:
Congratulations @JManziel2 for putting on a fantastic show. He may not be able to make money off himself but I can. pic.twitter.com/Tp3sKyznkq
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) September 22, 2013
Oh, he's funny, too.
We all know that athletes, particularly struggling superstar athletes, are not big fans of fantasy football. Naturally, most of them also aren't big fans of Twitter when they're struggling in fantasy.
But the fact is, Twitter offers them such an amazing outlet for their aggression.
Take Brandon Jacobs, for example. He plays for the Giants, so, obviously, things aren't going great for him this season. But one of his fantasy owners took it a step too far by issuing a death threat to Jacobs via Twitter.
Jacobs, to his credit, handled it like a boss:
Look at what we deal with.. pic.twitter.com/YfP960gShS— Brandon Jacobs (@gatorboyrb) October 22, 2013
For a long time, Dwight Howard didn't get the Twitter respect he deserved. It seemed that he was leagues behind the Shaquille O'Neals and the JaVale McGees of the Twitter world.
But it is Dwight Howard who delivered possibly the most epic Twitter put-down in the history of mankind, and for that, he must be recognized.
As you can imagine, life on Twitter hasn't been easy for Howard, who has jumped from team to team to team over the last three seasons and has burned every possible bridge along the way. But that doesn't mean that he'll accept your Twitter ire. No. He will own you.
This troll discovered that the hard way:
@uHateBre with that face ion think u getting one either lol.— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) August 7, 2013
Ochocinco tweets so much and so effusively that it makes you wonder whether he does anything else. By all indications, his daily routine consists of waking up, finding a Starbucks, camping out there all day and tweeting.
Are his tweets always appropriate? Of course not. He's Ochocinco. But even though they're sometimes rambling and nonsensical, he never ceases to entertain.
Exhibit A: Click here (language).
I've made yet another match between two followers who seem to be enjoying each other thus far. 🙌— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) October 27, 2013
Just call him cupid.
Just because Shaq is off the court doesn't mean he's completely removed from basketball. That's what Twitter is for!
Not only was Shaq one of the earliest adopters of the social media platform—and perhaps the one celebrity endorsement that gave it the legs it needed—but he has continued to use Twitter to thrill the masses ever since.
The ever-quotatious NBA star has over seven million followers and is never shy about sharing a good photo—or about calling out a former teammate.
Do Shack ever stop talking about himself. SMH— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) May 7, 2013
Seriously, guys. You are grown men. If you have something to say, say it in person, on the field. Be accountable. Don't hide behind a computer screen.
That being said, it's amazingly entertaining when they do hide behind the computer screen.
Surly Rangers pitcher Matt Garza was unhappy this summer when Oakland's Eric Sogard took advantage of the fact that Garza can't field a bunt. Clearly Sogard's bad, right? So after the game, Garza took to Twitter not only to berate Sogard for his perfectly fair and game-changing play, but he also chose to berate Sogard's wife. Check it out here because Garza has since rendered his account private.
Moreover: These tweets were so amazing that fans found themselves unable to believe this was actually Garza's real Twitter account.
Twitter offers athletes a unique, unheralded way to connect with their fans. The other side of the coin is that it also offers them a unique, unheralded way to connect with their haters.
If you're Hope Solo, you make the most of it and make sure you antagonize as many of them as possible.
The infamously outspoken goalkeeper always has some choice words for those who dare to question her choices and those of her husband, and nobody is safe—not even Brandi Chastain, who is as close to women's soccer royalty as it gets.
When Chastain, serving as a commentator on NBC, dared to criticize Solo, Solo didn't hold back and issued the following rant, preserved forever via screen shots.
There's nothing better than a Twitter cat fight.
Brandon Spikes is one of the under-the-radar treasures of Twitter. Those who know of his existence appreciate him enormously. And the others…they're missing out so bad.
The Patriots linebacker took a Twitter hiatus that lasted roughly from last February until early September, but his return was cause for celebration.
Sometimes, Spikes will address rough losses with a few choice words sand a simple yet effective "SMH":
Smfh I still can’t get this nasty taste out my mouth !!!!! #ImTru— brandon spikes (@BrandonSpikes55) October 20, 2013
Other times, he'll call out the haters for their asinine comments. And yet other times, he'll say something completely nonsensical, such as this, my all-time favorite tweet in the history of the world—but beware because he uses a swear word.
And then there was this:
Me: *drops phone* Headphones: I got u bro!— brandon spikes (@BrandonSpikes55) October 10, 2013
Most people know you're not supposed to tweet and drive. Most people also know that under no circumstance should you record a video and drive.
Then there is Gilbert Arenas. Gilbert Arenas has struggled with rules and societal norms in the past. We shouldn't be surprised that he filmed an Instagram video he took when he was driving on the freeway and spotted Lakers guard Nick Young.
He's entertaining, and he offers a prime example of what not to do when driving. It doesn't get better.
Maybe next time don't post it on Instagram, bro.
This brings us to an athlete who has come closest to perfecting the art of Twitter trolling. I give you Darnell Dockett.
Dockett isn't exactly a household name for his play on the field. The three-time Pro Bowler is a defensive end for the Cardinals—not exactly a glamour position. But you may know him as the guy who used Twitter to ruthlessly pursue Katherine Webb, girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, following her rise to fame during last year's national championship game.
Not only did Dockett tweet mercilessly at Webb, but he also refused to back off even when McCarron got involved. To be awesome at Twitter, you have to have gall. If nothing else, Dockett has that.
@10AJMcCarron 😂😭😂😭😂 I made "OUR" girl famous tonight she had less than 5k followers now she over 80k! We all can go to wingstop! 😬— DARNELL DOCKETT (@ddockett) January 8, 2013
And as always, Dockett kept it very mature:
@10AJMcCarron I have a national championship ring. And lets not get into who got what cuz that's a no win for you. Lets box sissy 🏥🏃— DARNELL DOCKETT (@ddockett) February 5, 2013
You have to figure that anyone who changes his name to represent an alter ego must be a solid Twitter follow.
JaVale "Pierre" McGee is the self-proclaimed innovator of the self-retweet and of the finger 'stache, as described in his Twitter bio. He is nothing if not entertaining. Not only does he frequently interact with fans and followers, but everything that comes off his keyboard is glorious, even if it doesn't always make sense.
There was also the time he used Twitter to fleece all of his fans and the media by pretending he had acquired a pet platypus.
He also once tweeted this, perhaps the most glorious tweet in the history of man. Be prepared to have your mind blown
What a legend. Kudos to you, Pierre.