Steve Blake is an inconsistent shooter that has made me doubtful about the Los Angeles Lakers. Surely, the experience and championship-caliber weight of Kobe Bryant could help the team survive another second round sweep (last year, it was Dallas) against a speedy, more athletic Oklahoma City Thunder.
I am worried about the Lakers, but what really got into my nerve is how Steve Blake has become a
victim of an upscaled Twitter assault about him missing a crucial three-pointer during Game 2 of the
Western quarter finals.
The attack on the Lakers point guard is considered a crime, a devastating blow that could render sleepless nights if taken seriously. After fumbling on a key possession that would have tied the playoff series 1-1, Blake has become the recent target of death threats delivered by legions of cold-hearted basketball fans, in general.
Bryant was expected to make the last shot, but the possession did not turn out as planned, as Blake missed a potentially game-altering basket. The Los Angeles Lakers will head into Staples Center down by two games, plus their second string playmaker will have to contend with serious emotional fractures caused by a flood of Twitter death notes.
Culled from Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie:
“What is relatively new, though, is how social media outlets – primarily Twitter, since more pros actually seem to use and manage Twitter accounts themselves than handle, say their own Facebook pages or write their own blogs – and the immediate connections they afford fans to the objects of their obsession can factor into this mix.”
Athletes use social media to re-connect with their fans. It’s a re-mastered version of signing post-game autographs. A single mention on Twitter is equally valuable and irreplaceable. However, many athletes will be thinking twice if whether they want to sustain a healthy relationship with their Twitter followers after what has befallen Steve Blake’s life as an athlete and more importantly, as an individual.
Democracy in Twitter is widespread. Bashing has become so common that public celebrities aren’t safe behind their glitzy comfort zones. The maddening outbreak of perilous tweets directed to Steve Blake and his family is just a basic example of misguided fervor. Angry, disheartened fans may have realized that taking tumbling cars, vandalizing walls, and setting mailboxes on fire are barbaric, thus they take out their frustration on Twitter, which will not send performing community service for the things that they will say.
Steve Blake isn’t the first player to receive some nasty comments during the playoffs. After suffering from an ACL injury, Derrick Rose became the subject of Jason Petrie’s scathing tweet. The Nike shoe designer blamed Rose’s injury with his choice of footwear, which the star athlete is currently endorsing.
Maligned tweets like this are easy to forget. They fade easily, but the intimidation that Blake received from Twitter is just uncalled for. That possession may have caused LA a shot to compete for a championship – Blake is sitting on the bench thinking if some fan would stab him from behind. The situation will definitely go inside his head, as long as he is playing at home.
I could only imagine the damage done if Twitter was introduced in 1989 when Michael Jordan drained that buzzer-beater over Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Blake's image courtesy of: James Boyd