You shouldn’t let the world see who you really are, if you don’t know who you really are.
It’s not that NBA stars always yearned for a way to communicate directly with their fans without having to go through the media. Actually, for decades they yearned for the media to come around so they could tell the difference between their games and those of the local high schools.
In those days with annual salaries in four figures, most players had off-season jobs, and everyone was a lot more lucid. But enough of NBA pre-history.
These days, with eight-figure salaries, the media has turned into a monster for NBA stars–and what player isn’t a star in his own mind?—or at least a monumental pain in the ass, since it still has the capacity to submit the players’ illusions to real-world testing.
Hence, the desire to avoid the media filter, now realized in the exploding potential for social networking, as just demonstrated anew by Stephon Marbury, that pioneer in expanding the boundaries of Narcissism.
Steph just put a 24-hour-long video about… what else, Steph… on Ustream, starting at 9.a.m when he awoke. That would have been a bit much even for any blood relatives who aren’t actually on his payroll.
According to NBA Musings, a blog for Celtic fans (I stood as much as I could, a shot of Steph primping in the mirror in his bathroom), he “stretched for at least an hour with R&B music blaring in the background” and then tweeted, “I’m about to shi! Shave and bath so we can get started with the day.”
It doesn’t get any better, especially if you’ve followed Steph’s car wreck of a career and have heard and seen all the dumb things he has said and done.
I guess the big deal is, you look on your hand-held and there’s an alert, informing you Stephon Marbury is personally inviting you, JoeFan@twitter, to sit in on his live telethon, in which you and he can chat in real time!
Personally, I would advise holding out until someone who has actually scored a point or two in the NBA lately holds his telethon, unless you’re really, really bored. I know, I have days like that all the time, but I’d prefer suicide to 24 Hours of Steph.
For those interested in Steph’s career, as opposed to his obsession with himself, he has played 47 games in two seasons, not because he was hurt but because he was suspended.
Two seasons ago, then-Knick Coach Isiah Thomas suspended him for jumping the team after his teammates voted that he should be benched.
Marbury then sat out the first 59 games last season, rejecting a $17 million buyout of the $21 million left on his deal until the club bumped it to $19 million.
Signing with the Celtics, who had great hopes for him in a limited role, backing up Rajon Rondo, Steph then fell on his face, averaging 3.8 points and shooting 34 percent.
Offered a $1.3 million deal for this season, presumably on the basis that nobody could be as bad as he looked, Steph then turned it down, and is still seeking a better offer.
Not that a segment of the mainstream press can’t be interested in anything any celebrity does, however clueless. The New York Post had its Knick beat writer spend all last season ghost-writing Steph’s account of events, giving readers a choice of alternate realities, everyone else’s or Marbury’s.
Actually, the problem with access to the public is the fact that it bypasses the media, which actually protects players when it can, and shows the player as he really is.
On draft day, Brandon Jennings, who’s new and just starting up his entourage, compounded his error in not showing up by telling all to a “friend”—rapper Joe Budden—who posted the conversation on Youtube.
It was quickly taken down, but too late. I just googled “Budden” and “Jennings” and got 72,800 results.
“This is what happened, right?” Jennings told Budden and, subsequently, the world.
“My agent is like 'Well, we ain't hear nothing. We ain't have no guarantee.' So we makin' phone calls and (expletive) and (expletive) is saying like, 'The workouts is great and everything and he's the best point guard but we don't know yet, we just don't know….'
“I came out there and made my appearance (expletive) and I had the best appearance out of all them (expletives). And I was the best dressed, they said, by the way. I was the best dressed."
Jennings also trashed the Knicks who “skipped out on me,” for taking Jordan Hill at No. 9, leaving Milwaukee to take him at No. 10, sending him to the tundra instead of Gotham.
Not that I’d attach too much importance to this, since Jennings isn’t much dizzier than anyone else his age in the draft. But that’s still pretty dizzy.
Then, there was Charlie Villanueva, who should own a piece of Twitter by now for publicizing the web site by tweeting at halftime of a game last spring. (To show how fast things move, four months ago you had to explain what tweeting was. Now anyone who doesn’t know doesn’t care.)
If you didn’t know much about Villanueva before, he was the player at the 2003 Nike camp who complained that LeBron James was getting all the publicity. After two merely OK years at UConn, Toronto took him with an ill-advised No. 7 pick, and traded him a year later to Milwaukee. Three years later, the Bucks let him leave without an offer, even after he averaged 17 points after the All-Star break last season.
Charlie has been tweeting all summer about the glorious future awating the Pistons, who just gave him a five-year $35 million deal.
We’ll see how that turns out. Personally, if I was a GM these days, I’d have a Twitter Exclusion. Anyone who tweets during games is excluded.
In the real world, the day Steph awoke at 9 a.m. to begin his Ustream show, Kobe Bryant probably awoke at the same time, even if it was 6 a.m. in California, and lifted weights.
One was telegenic. One actually meant something.
Follow Mark Heisler on Twitter at @MarkHeisler