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Monday, June 17, 2024
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Calling TT&T

Trash Talk and Twitter, One Must Go

Calling TT&T

Trash Talk and Twitter, One Must Go

ANDREW WIKTOR

Editor in Chief

I have a mental list of things I plan to do before I die.

Tweeting is definitely not one of them, but somewhere close to the top is sitting courtside at an NBA game.

I don't care to see what a tomahawk dunk looks like from 25 feet away, and I'm not at all interested in being on TV. All I care about are the sounds on the court.

This season the league started giving out technical fouls like candy, and I grew afraid that I had missed my opportunity to hear the unadulterated lingo that exists on the professional basketball court.

After last Tuesday night's matchup between the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons, however, I saw a glimmer of hope.

Following the Eastern Conference champions' 109-86 victory over the struggling squad from Michigan, Pistons power forward Charlie Villanueva tweeted that Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett had offended him by calling him a cancer patient.

No question about it, that's a low blow. Villanueva has alopecia universalis, a skin disease that results in the loss of all body hair, which is where the ignorant assumption stemmed from.

For the record, Garnett claimed that he didn't call him a cancer patient but instead released a statement saying that he called Villanueva "cancerous to his team and to the league."

I'm not here to judge that Villanueva is definitely telling the truth and that Garnett's publicist isn't the cleverest of all. I'm here to consider the bigger pictures of trash talking and Twitter in the world of professional athletes.

The former is a staple of sports, and I'm not sure that games would be as fun without verbal jarring throughout. Trash talking takes the competition to another level and forces players to compete not just physically, but mentally, too.

And I would absolutely love to sit courtside and hear it all. I want to know which players are witty, which guys stutter when they speak, who curses the most viciously, and how much spit comes out of Greg Oden's mouth every time he yells. Oh wait, he'd have to play for that…

Hearing what athletes say in the heat of the battle reveals a lot about their personalities. And, to an extent, so does reading their Tweet.

Twitter helps give us a look into the lives and minds of famous people. We find out who knows the basics of grammar and who's having a bad day. But there needs to be a line.

Five years ago, Villanueva would have had to call a press conference to vent about his sadness. He wouldn't have had the balls to stand in front of a camera and complain about how his big-bad-mean opponent hurt his feelings; his pillow would have calmed his tears instead, not the Internet.

By no means do I think what Garnett said was politically correct, but on the basketball court, it's acceptable.

Saying some things on Twitter, however, are not.

We all remember when Vinny Chase got Turtle in trouble by tweeting about Avion, the new tequila they were trying to market. It was a poor marketing move, and the boys from Queens heard it from the owner.

On a more relevant, real, and (conveniently) related note, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $25K last season for criticizing the refs via Twitter, tweeting, "How do they not call a tech on JR Smith for coming off the bench to taunt our player on the ground?"

Bill Simmons of ESPN.com wrote a column about how he accidentally leaked "moss Vikings" to the world before the trade was made official. Aside from forgetting to capitalize the "m" in Moss, Simmons' error technically violated ESPN's rules.

I love getting inside the minds of the high-ups involved in sports. I'd just rather do so in the unscripted moment. Reading about a pre-thought out Tweet just isn't the same.

I'll end with a quote by Cedric Maxwell, a former NBA player and, according to The Boston Globe, a Hall of Fame trash talker who competed in the '80s when basketball was becoming basketball and when teams literally battled night in and night out.

"You could not print all the things we said. You could not write it all down. The families. The moms. Didn't make any difference. We didn't have to be politically correct. We could be asinine."

E-mail: andrew.wiktor@ubspectrum.com


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