Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Does the NBA own stock in Twitter?

Mark Cuban has found a new way to get fined; criticizing refs on his Twitter page. Shaquille O'Neal gets controversy for using the service at halftime, and asking people to accost him in public. Baron Davis just told the world he's got an ulcer on his page. (Finally, a Clipper has something in common with their ticket holders. That, and the soul-crushing losing.) Charlie Villaneuva has been candid about his coach's displeasure with him on Twitter. Many teams have committed to official feeds.

And that spine-crackling yawn that you just emitted from this knowledge? Well, I'm on the record as loving the Association, but I'm with you on this one.

Personally, I'm one of the far too many Rapidly Aging Americans who use Facebook; I do so for the same reasons that people used to use Reunion or MySpace, which is to say, to look at pictures of women I knew in high school. (Yeah, like you use it for anything else.) That, and trying to casually amuse people, or generate a few extra folks for my poker game, or blog posts, or whatever.

I do not care, and never will, about the not very illuminating or interesting lists or quizzes or applications that people use in the course of their Facebook day. Nor, for that matter, am I all that interested in the building blocks of your thought process, which is to say, the real grist of what Twitter is about.

So why do so many NBA guys do this?

1) They have too much free time. Seriously, at this point in the season, there isn't much in the way of new scouting or coaching going on. It's all about either qualifying for the playoffs, finding out about bench guys, or just playing out the string for the benefit of your statistics. There's a reason why scoring goes up late in the year; there's a tacit quid pro quo of guys more or less going easy on each other.

2) They are young enough to embrace any new technology. Your mom uses e-mail. Parents use Facebook. Twittering is basically a public text messaging service; it rewards a lack of forethought or editing, and that's right in the wheelhouse of folks who are less likely to have set habits and schedules.

3) It's a fad. Kobe Bryant notwithstanding, there really aren't very many NBA players who have been on Shaq's teams that have really disliked the guy. He may be a defensive sieve now, he might have squandered some of his talent and opportunities from not taking his conditioning seriously, and he's left untold thousands of points on the table from being a free-throw liability. But he seems fun to be around, and he keeps the media away from you. So when he starts doing something, other people are going to check it out.

4) Easier to be second than first. Who, really, is going to crack hard on a Twittering NBA guy now? You'd have to crack on Gilbert Arenas first, for opening Pandora's Box with the blogging, then the half dozen folks who've already done this in the last month.

My only real question is this... what will it be next month? 24-hour Web cams carried on the players? Bathroom updates? A cortical implant that will allow us 24/7/365 thought access? Non-inquiring minds do not want to know!

1 comment:

Mike J. said...

I think there is no way for the league to own a stock. Twitter is the fast-growing trend today and everyone is following, that's all. There are no exceptions. I read the news about Cuban getting fined because of his wicked words to the game officials. And I think there's nothing wrong with that. Twitter is a venue wherein you can express everything. Too bad the league took it so heavy and fined the Maverick ball club owner.

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