By Kenneth Cohen | @Kenco25
Co-Host of the Ball Hogs Podcast
Member of Ball State Sports Link
Social media is something we all have grown to either love or hate. This new phenomenon to share every thought that comes to your mind with millions has given us a new insight on who people really are. This new insight has proven to be great for the NBA and the sports world in general.
A lot of good things can come out of following your favorite athlete on social media. You start to get a sense of what that person likes to do, what other athletes they hang out with, what they do in their spare time, even cool things their dedicated fans have done for them if they post it on Instagram, such as this one shared by Harrison Barnes:
Here current NBA champion is drawn here as a candidate to fill the shoes of the big man himself and according to Ryan he is a good candidate at that, but there are also some other social interactions you can encounter while scrolling down your timeline. Yes yes everything good typically has a “Mr. Hyde” side to it and social media is no exception. Markieff’s twin brother and former Suns forward Marcus was traded away during this summer when Phoenix was scrambling to free up enough cap space to sign former Portland elite big man and biggest free agent of this past summer Lamarcus Aldridge. His brother Marcus joined the Pistons, where mediocre careers go to be revitalized (…or buried, depends on how you look at it), while the Suns, who had a real shot after the Tyson Chandler signing, missed out on a future of having a dynamic big man duo with L.A. added to the concoction the Suns front office was trying to whip up.
This sparked the Twitter reaction you read earlier. On media day Markieff showed us that the tweet was more bark than bite by coming back on his internet statement and on his word saying, “Glad to be back with my teammates and glad to be back with the team.” That statement upset me a little.
The NBA has become so friendly. Players from different teams grabbing dinner together after a game, Players participating in endorsement deals together and even sometimes skipping town on their team to play with other stars, which is slowly but surely becoming acceptable. You can watch watch almost any interview, halftime, post game, etc and the answers athletes give us sound so rehearsed, without any real thought. We don’t have many Jared Dudley’s in our league who keep it 100, 100% of the time.
Twitter is giving us another way to get back that authenticity. In the past months we have seen Twitter instigate some budding rivalries both domestic and overseas. “Draymond Green vs Hassan Whiteside” would never be the two people who headline a game but because of their recent altercations or “subtweets” on Twitter about the recent fad in the NBA dubbed small ball, It could be one of the bigger story lines coming into the next Heat vs Warriors game you watch.
Rudy Gobert’s tweets after France lost to Spain in the semifinals of Eurobasket 2015 spoke specifically about some of the calls, though were not as extreme as Morris’s or The Draymon/Whiteside saga. Still, it was worthy enough to get a response from timber wolves guard Ricky Rubio who usually mans the PG position for Spain but did not this year due to injury.
Social networks have not caused any of these problems. These arguments and disagreements could have easily happened with or without the help of the Twittersphere. The main thing social media has done was give us more access to a player’s thoughts and actions and no matter what those players do or say afterwards to make it all politically correct, we will always know the truth, we will always know what’s real.