With Twitter and Facebook at the peak of their powers, societal media is ever present in the NBA bill of exchange process. How are teams and prospects handling this? The Crossover takes a deeper look.
CHICAGO — Last year, during one of the tons of interviews NBA prospects take part in at the yearly bill of exchange combine, a participant was asked if he ever used a homophobic slur on societal media. The participant said no. A typical of the team took out a printout of a tweet the participant had sent years earlier, exploitation the homophobic slur.
Embarrassed, the participant denied causing the tweet, claiming he had never seen it earlier . After the interview, the participant was interpreted off the team’s bill of exchange board, a typical from the team told SI.com, requesting anonymity.
In new years, excavation up old tweets has led to some awkward moments. Many have been innocent. Kevin Durant declaring that he craved to play in Oklahoma City for his full career. Kyle Kuzma ridiculing LeBron James’s hairline. Bobby Portis criticizing Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol years earlier beingness bill of exchangeed by the Bulls, and musical performance with them.
Others have been more problematic. In 2012, Larry Nance named Kobe Bryant a rapist, referencing Bryant’s physiological property (related term) assault arrest in Colorado in 2003. In 2015, the Lakers bill of exchangeed Nance—who became Bryant’s teammate. In 2017, the Mavericks bill of exchangeed Dennis Smith Jr. The Mavericks made the pick aware that Smith’s Twitter account was filled with unacceptable language, including one physiological property (related term) ly explicit tweet that eventually went viral. “Stupid stuff,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said. After bill of exchangeing Smith, Cuban got on the phone with him and said, “It’s time to get on there and delete.”
Scouring the societal media accounts of prospective prospects has become an integral part of team’s bill of exchange process. The NBA assists by doing its own research. As part of the league’s efforts to ensure incoming prospects are prepared for the rigors of life in professional basketball, a handful of employees in the league’s PR department review participants’ societal media feeds for any content they may want to reconsider leaving up when taking into account the increased attention.
Some outsource the work to outside firms. Others instruct interns to pore through the Twitter accounts of participants on their bill of exchange board. “That’s what we did,” said Bobby Marks, the former Nets assistant GM and ESPN front office Insider. “We craved to walk into interviews knowing what they said, what they were retweeting. Being able to reference something they tweeted when they were 14 or 15, just to try to get them to open up. Because you already know basically everything about them. It’s about asking them, if they are going to be truthful.”
“It’s another window into the personality of a prospect,” said former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox. “A lot of information that comes from societal media is good information. Things that interest a participant. A family situation you want to know about. And there are the not so positive things you have to ask about. It’s an arms race for information, and societal media is a part of it.”
In interviews with more than a dozen prospects at the combine, most expressed no concern for what teams might dig up. Reasons varied. Family came up often. “My Mom was always on my Twitter,” said Virginia Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker. “She would call me about something I captioned or any rap [lyrics] I posted.” Said Iowa’s Tyler Cook, “When I first got societal media, my parents were on there, too. So I couldn’t say anything wild. I never had any worries.”
For many, the schooling on societal media began early. “Buzz Williams did a good job telling us to be careful,” Alexander-Walker said. Missouri’s Jontay Porter says he was warned at an NCAA leadership conference that NBA teams will be looking at old posts and told not to “tweet anything that will make them scratch their heads.” Nebraska’s Isaiah Roby recalls his AAU coaches warning him of the impact of an off-the-cuff post.
“That’s something I was taught really early, to watch what you say on societal media because [the media] can use that as a direct quote from you,” Roby said. “I don’t think I’ve even cussed on Twitter.”
Still, most participants joined Twitter at an early age, which has sent some searching through old posts. Kentucky’s Tyler Herro, a Twitter user since 2014, had someone “clean out” his account. Virginia’s Kyle Guy signed up in 2011, a baby-faced 13-year old in Indiana. When Guy began the bill of exchange process, he went back and took a few tweets down.
“Just stupid stuff, cussing and whatever,” Guy said. “We were all idiots back in the day. My dad is always like, ‘Man, I’m glad I didn’t have Twitter when I was young—I wouldn’t have any job offers.’”
UCLA’s Kris Wilkes, on Twitter since 2011, didn’t think he had anything worth deleting. But when his agency searched his account they identified one post to be deleted. The post, Wilkes said, was a retweet of PSA about sportsmanship, a video that showed a high school participant alerting a referee late in a game that he had touched the ball earlier it went out of bounds, reversing the call. It wasn’t the retweet that got flagged, Wilkes said, but the comment he posted with it.
“I didn’t think it was that bad,” Wilkes said, laughing. “But they said I should take it down.”Jeff Haynes/Getty Images
NBA prospects are NBA fans, and most admitted that there could be hot-take tweets out there, times when the basketball fan in them spilled onto societal media. “I probably said something about a team,” Cook said. “But nothing disrespectful.”
Those are not the tweets they—or NBA teams—are concerned with. And even if questionable tweets surfaced, Tennessee’s Jordan Bone said, teams should know the views expressed by teenagers years ago are not necessarily reflective of the people they are today.
“The things that I thought about in the past or said in the past, they don’t reflect who I am as a person now,” Bone said. “I don’t really worry about the past. I’m working on bettering myself every day as a person and a participant. I have no idea [if questionable tweets are up]. Even if there is something was there, it doesn’t represent who I am now.”