Athletes on Twitter – some never update (see: Rodgers, Aaron), others use it to get their name on SportsCenter (see: James, LeBron) and then we have the group that use it for other purposes: trolling, hitting on someone else’s girlfriend, giving the NFL the proverbial middle finger or making fun of ridiculous rumors.
Earlier in the week, there was a rumor flying around the interwebs that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard had to be separated after a game so they wouldn’t beat the crap out of each other. Bryant, a newbie to Twitter (he joined just last Friday but already has well over 700,000 followers) used it as a vehicle to squash the rumor in the most impressive of ways – by tweeting the above picture.
It was certainly a way to shut us all up and we should give Kobe credit for immediately catching on to the benefits of Twitter. In a world where too many athletes think Twitter was created to retweet happy birthday requests from fans, it's a welcome sight to see someone like Bryant get it so quickly.
But Kobe squaring off with Dwight Howard got us thinking about where it might rank among some of the best tweets athletes we've ever seen. We've already recapped some of the worst tweets sent, but these examples are some of the most memorable cases of athletes using Twitter.
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett. He caused quite the stir during Monday's BCS title game between Alabama and Notre Dame when he "accidentally" tweeted out his phone number to Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron's girlfriend:
This tweet of course led to an explosion across sports blogs, ESPN, Facebook, etc, and eventually led to an interesting exchange between him and McCarron. And of course after seeing that, the only thing running through my head was this gem of a scene from Kingpin:
I'm guessing Dockett will not be escorting Webb to Wingstop any time soon.
Next we have Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy. Over the summer, McCarthy was hit in te head by a line drive and had to undergo brain surgery – incredibly scary stuff. Luckily for all involved, McCarthy recovered and showed us he had not lost his sense of humor in the process:
How can we not include Dan Ellis? Back in the day, before the latest NHL Lockout, the Tampa Bay Lightning goalie caused quite the stir with a series of tweets using the hashtag #DanEllisProblems. Although much of what he tweeted was vomitous bullshit, the use of his own name in a hashtag while also mocking "#firstworldproblems" was a stroke of genius: Of course, an apology statement had to be crafted and Ellis has since deleted his account.
Our next candidate is also a hockey player, Paul Bissonnette, aka BizNasty.:
That's just amazing. I don't think two people are more annoying together than Bayless and Smith, so even though this tweet is kind of trollish, it is also dead-on.
And of course, who can forget Mike Tyson biting off part of Evander Holyfield's ear? Well, we're not sure how Holyfield feels about it in present day, but Tyson is apparently able to make fun of himself:
Speaking of athletes who are using Twitter to stay relevant, no one has worked harder at it than Jose Canseco. The dude is out of his mind, and this tweet is just one of many that have given us evidence of that, although it clearly stands out from the pack:
Don't we all wish that were true?
We have JaVale McGee of the Denver Nuggets, predictably making no sense:
I really can't picture how that would work, nor do I want to.
And then there's the most memorable of all athlete tweets, the one sent by Packers lineman T.J. Lang in the wake of the screwjob in Seattle. Until Barack Obama's re-election, it was the single most retweeted message in the history of Twitter. Lang's not so subtle message has been RT'd a mind-blowing 98,313 times.
Fuck it NFL.. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.
— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) September 25, 2012
It's important for high profile athletes to engage with fans on Twitter and not JUST use it as a forum to promote their brand and sponsors. Some are better than others, and some make us glad we're somewhat normal people that know how to DM, delete tweets, and understand the limits of time travel.
I'm sure 2013 will have many, many more memorable tweets from athletes that will range from absurd to brilliant to well, Darnell Dockett.