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Kobe Bryant Vows Not to Tweet During Games

Even the great Kobe Bryant cannot escape the unintended consequences of social media use.

During game one of the Lakers vs. Spurs playoff series, Kobe Bryant took to Twitter to provide running commentary as he recuperated at home from an achilles heel tear that sidelined him toward the end of the regular season.

Bryant’s celebrity quickly took over Twitter when the Lakers guard embraced it this season.  The legendary basketball star provided candid looks into his life off the court via #mambatweets:  a combination of seemingly genuine commentary that came across as humanizing and unfiltered and exclusive photos that trumped NBA writer access into one of the game’s biggest stars ever.

Whether it was a calculated risk, or an unintentional episode of having fallen in love with the freedom of expression, Kobe provided fans and media alike with a brand new experience when he took to Twitter to give insights into a Lakers game in real time.

The shift in tweeting direction came after the media focused on the potentially undermining effect of Kobe’s tweets during Mike D’Antoni’s press conference.  An assessment that wasn’t altogether wrong given the sensitive nature of traditional employee-manager relations that we all must often deal with.

The slew of tweets began with “arm-chair” coaching in the first half:

An interesting piece of coaching given Bryant’s propensity for opting for his own shot instead of dishing it into the bigs.

Kobe went on to reiterate his point by voicing something many of us have been yelling at our TVs many-a-times when Kobe isolates himself near the half-court line:

Kobe followed with a gem that went highly unnoticed/unused on Twitter: #milkpau:

By game’s end, and after the Spurs had dominated the Lakers, Mike D’Antoni was placed in an unfortunate situation of not being able to criticize Kobe Bryant for sideline coaching, while at the same time maintaining some level of dignity.

D’Antoni chose his words unwisely and tried to downplay the meaning of Kobe’s tweets, while in the process taking a swipe at Kobe’s commentary:

It’s great to have that commentary” D’Antoni said, rolling his eyes. “He’s a fan right now. He’s a fan. You guys put a little bit more importance on that kind of fan. He’s a fan, he gets excited, I’m sure he wants to be part of it.”

Reducing one of the greatest basketball players of all time to “just a fan”, especially after said player injured himself in the process of carrying your team, is nothing close of blasphemy in Los Angeles.  The mamba, of course, hears everything and responded with the following:

To make matters worse, Phil Jackson, who also recently joined Twitter, chimed in.

In response to Kobe feeling helpless while his team goes down:

The situation highlighted one of the greatest things about the current state of sports and social media:  the immediate access to a mass communication medium like Twitter, along with the massive fan-bases who are constantly connected to their favorite team or athlete, creates a dynamic ecosystem where any misjudgment in the severity of a tweet will have rapidly expanding consequences.

Social media has become a magical medium for access, networking and discovery.  It has also been responsible for transparently outing people’s biases, prejudices and extremisms, which at times have resulted in the very real consequences of people losing their jobs or having to resign.

While most of us fans will lament the loss of Kobe Bryant’s live game tweeting, we must accept that such restraint is probably the best thing for the team itself.  Not only did Kobe do damage to the image of D’Antoni’s coaching ability, he also put himself in the spotlight for better or worse.

There’s a time and place for social media and even five championship rings won’t save you from the consequences should you choose to use it unwisely.

Published inLakersNews

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