At the end of each week, The Ringer’s ace blog team will convene a council to determine which person(s) in the NBA world rose above the rest. This week’s pick is … Burner Social Media Accounts.
The advent of modern technology has bettered our lives in many ways: long-distance communication, transportation, advances in medicine, and, of course, the ability to have dual identities on the internet. What spoiled lives we lead.
This week, we saw Kevin Durant—former MVP and budding tech magnate—indulge in the most problematic usage of Twitter dot com other than tweeting in the first place. Durant received a query he probably fields thousands of times a day (Why’d you leave OKC???, basically) from the user @ColeCashwell, and not only replied, but threw high levels of shade toward his former team in doing so, all while tweeting as if it wasn’t coming from him.
Kevin Durant calls his criticisms of Thunder, Billy Donovan "childish" and "idiotic" at Tech Crunch in SF pic.twitter.com/2Y0zwWyDKi— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) September 19, 2017
This was a bad look for KD, even if his honesty after the fact buys him some points. But it apparently wasn’t an outlier. The internet G-men also found a YouTube reply from Durant after the Warriors forward was called out for caring about what other people think.
“Of my stature,” Durant wrote. “I play basketball, I got acne, I grew up with nothing, [I’m] still figuring myself out in my late 20s, I slide in DMs, I make fun of my friends, I drink beers and play Xbox. I’m closer to you than [you] think.”
This is a tough situation. On one hand, we, as a media culture, do more than enough to suppress athletes’ true opinions and dissuade them from ever sharing anything interesting about themselves (see: NFL quarterbacks). KD being honest and wanting to engage random fans is kind of cool and refreshing! At the same time, we have a pattern here. Engaging with many Twitter trolls, sometimes on burner accounts, may not be the best approach for a person with millions of dollars riding on his public persona.
But what a moment that was for burner accounts everywhere! Maybe people around the world clutched their phones tightly, quadruple-checking that every tweet and every reply was sent from the correct account. And I bet some people, probably older, even discovered the ability to make multiple accounts. Either way, just remember: When in doubt, never tweet.
Runner-up: Andrew Wiggins
It’s Friday, and Andrew Wiggins is about to get PAID. It’s really incredible to chronicle the narrative evolution Wiggins has already gone through in his young career. From phenom prospect, to no. 1 overall pick, to LeBron trade fodder, to the Timberwolves’ savior, to now the third of three stars behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler. But the potential is still there, and apparently big enough to warrant a reported $148 million over five years.
In a way, a situation that at first seemed an ill fit for Wiggins since it asked him to be the no. 1 guy has turned into the perfect spot for him. He can be an extremely good third option on a championship team. But the pressure is still on, and it’s the weight of $148 million in bills.
Honorable (and Peculiar) Mention: Kyrie Irving
Kyrie went on First Take earlier this week and incited more questions about him than he gave us answers. Sure, he said he didn’t owe LeBron anything—which is notable—but dodged everything else with what almost looked like a grin on his face. One answer stood out. When he was asked how he didn’t see why his relationship with LeBron mattered, Irving replied:
“I just think that you just care entirely too much.”
Kyrie isn’t wrong, and even as eerie and, um, unconventional as his approach has been ever since expressing his flat-earth theory, he’s winning in one specific way: everything has been on his terms. He’s commanded the conversation, and now has what he wanted in some way or form: his own team and a chance to prove himself.
Shouts to you, Kyrie, for channeling your inner Kobe and making us all as confused as we typically are when you twist and twirl on your way to a layup.