Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 |
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Over the past year or so, the sports world has been taken in a new direction where the Internet — and more specifically, Twitter — has become not only a resource for the latest information, but maybe the most relied upon form of communicating breaking news.
It was never more evident than the one-week saga of free agency that the NBA just witnessed.
Everyone with a Twitter account and the slightest sniff of inside information was immediately feeding their leads online to tell the world that a waiter in Chicago told them that Michael Jordan’s old table was already reserved for LeBron James, or that a New York executive said that the King to the Knicks was a done deal.
Now, this really isn’t any different than it’s always been. People like to prove to others that they are “in the know.” While it used to be limited to a corner at a house party, those individuals that feel they have the straight dope on anything can now tweet their self-professed informed opinions to the masses.
I, myself, haven’t yet joined Twitter, but I do semi-regularly follow some different peoples’ tweets who I find funny, interesting or informative.
I just know that if I were to create an account for myself, it wouldn’t be long before an avalanche of @ symbols infested my page, as I gave a piece of my mind to all those individuals who I felt had to hear my 140-character critiques.
@FIFA: Instant replay was first used in an Army-Navy football game in 1963. You’ve had 12 World Cups to ponder. Just buy a DVR already.
@JimGray: 1) Do you enjoy sci-fi novels? 2) What would you do for a Klondike bar? 3) Why have you screwed up every interview ever?
@NJNets: Forget about the summer of 2010, you will be acquiring the top prize in 2014. Seriously, the general manager of an Arby’s told me so.
@MiamiHeat: Enjoy the fanfare now, because those empty seats for Round One against the @CharlotteBobcats are still inevitable.
@FloydMayweather: Come on champ. Why does it seem like you and @LeBronJames are doing everything you can to ruin your legacies?
@Spain: Alright, enough is enough. @AlbertoContador, @RafaelNadal, now the World Cup champs? I’m starting to buy into this siesta business.
OK, you see where I’m going with this. But while Twitter has been heavily used for quick rants and not-quite-confirmed information, it has also been a forum for athletes to announce huge decisions.
On the same day that James and ESPN were keeping the world, and more egregiously, Cleveland fans, in the dark about “The Decision,” another superstar was letting his fans know that he was sticking around for five more years.
Oklahoma City Thunder franchise forward Kevin Durant, last season’s NBA scoring leader, tweeted the following message:
“Extension for 5 more years with the Thunder….God Is Great, me and my family came a long way…I love yall man for real, this a blessing”
What it may have lacked in grammar and punctuation, it more than made up for in both candor and accuracy. It was straight from the player’s mouth to anyone whose ears were following his words.
There is a lot to be said for this new aspect of the player-fan relationship. The catchphrase of that day to rationalize so many of the decisions that went into “The Decision” was “it’s a business.” It is also nice to see that players are interacting with those interested in them on a more personal level than any press release, official statement or Jim Gray special could match.
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