The recent social media “Twitter Wars” sparked panic in the upper divisions of the NBA.
The NBA commisioner, Mark Tatum, addressed all 30 teams about the issue. Players and teams responded by tweeting sarcastic comments with an overly-polite nature toward each other.
After a Twitter battle between the Portland Trailblazers Twitter account, Trailblazer player C.J. McCollum and Memphis Grizzlies player Chandler Parsons, the NBA took action on Feb. 9 by sending a memo to every team. The memo informed teams and players that “consequences will be enforced” if the tweets continue.
Tatum explained the rules and guidelines of social media use in an article for the Rolling Stone.
“As with in-game entertainment, teams are prohibited from mocking or ridiculing opponents game officials on social media in any form, including through statements, pictures or videos,” Tatum said.
Teams and players began tweeting each other sarcastically during games, complimenting opposing players, jerseys, stadiums and even wishing an opposing player “happy birthday.” Players showed their disdain for the NBA’s rules through sarcasm.
Jason Kresge, a freshman digital cinema major and basketball fan, said the NBA provides a living for players, so players should not mock the organization they work for.
“The NBA has every right to tell [players] what they can and can’t tweet because that’s their job,” Kresge said.
Kresge said social media provides a player’s only connection to the fans, so players should be wary of what they tweet.
“For fans to connect to their favorite players through twitter and only see hate tweets or cocky self-centered tweets…can hurt the player’s reputation, as well as give fans the wrong idea of what an NBA star or sports star should be,” Kresge said.
Timothy Harmon, freshman English major at JBU, said the NBA should not put restrictions on NBA player’s Twitter accounts because players should not concern themselves with things like Twitter wars.
“If you’re focused on the game it shouldn’t matter what other people say because your game should speak louder,” Harmon said.
Harmon said that Twitter wars show that players and teams actually care about what they are doing, and tweets should focus more on the game itself instead of degrading comments.
“If [the tweets] become an explicit conversation, that’s bad on the brand,” Harmon said. “If NBA players and employees are burning each other, that means they care about what they do, even if it’s in a [disrespectful] manner.”
Max Neely-Cohen, a novelist, summed up how he believes Twitter serves the NBA and fan interaction in an article for newrepublic.com.
“Twitter has become the epicenter of basketball fandom, a beating heart and a central nervous system, a place where serious statistical analysis flows alongside highlights, jokes, exclamations, and inane trash talk from every conceivable corner of the world,” Neely-Cohen said.