I went to Pepperdine and lived in Santa Monica. In order to get to school you have to take PCH, which is the worst highway in America. There is always traffic and there is no way around it. I’d pick up Mexican food before class, and I’d end up eating it in my car most of the time. Usually I’d just rest the burrito in the front armrest compartment thing. Obviously, I’ve been doing it all wrong. This is the greatest thing ever.
Prior to December 2013, the majority of Los Angeles had no idea who he was. And unless you hang tight with the Lakers or the NBA, you still may not recognize his name.
The Lakers pulled up Kendall Marshall from the D-League this past season after the point guards on their roster began dropping like flies to injuries. Marshall held his own on the staggering squad, finishing with an average of 8 points, 8.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game, according to NBA stats.
In the Lakers Kobe-less stretch, Nick Young stole the show on the court, claiming the nickname Swaggy P and becoming notorious for his shot celebrations. However, Marshall was able to build a following with his off the court personality — @KButter5 reigns supreme.
Marshall’s follower count on Twitter trumps every Laker on the 2013-14 roster with the only exceptions being All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol. His Q&As, fast food cravings and comedic comments have garnered an audience.
As everyone has said since Twitter took off, it provides a platform for athletes and celebrities to connect with fans like never before. Marshall has mastered it. Scroll through his feed and it’s immediately apparent that he leaves up no walls between him and the world.
He’s for real and his social media reach doesn’t even stop at the blue bird. You can also join his 36.6K Vine followers to follow his life in six second bursts, most of which feature him singing or lip-syncing.
Or if you’re more into photos, of course he is on Instagram as @jethrowellington to the tune of an audience of 102K.
Third 2014 draft pick Joel-Hans Embiid has made noise on Twitter lately with his failed attempt to sway LeBron James to choose his team in Philly. And his most recent tweet at Kim Kardashian (he quickly apologized).
Yet Embiid’s wild antics still don’t quite bring him to the threshold of @KButter5’s 212K.
Marshall loves his Chipotle, he loves sharing across social media and we’ll have to wait and see whether or not the Lakers sign him up for another season.*
@jethrowellington: “safety first babygirl.”
Until then, he is worth keeping tabs on. You will be entertained.
@jethrowellington: “just bc one doesn’t tweet about it daily, doesn’t mean the work ain’t happenin. This is my job, what I’m SUPPOSED to do. No need to broadcast it. don’t let this social fool shit fool you from what’s fact. sidenote: spider push ups ain’t no joke. sheesh”
*UPDATE: Kendall Marshall is no longer a Laker, but rather a Milwaukee Buck. He’ll jostle with Brandon Knight for the starting PG spot. The Bucks have the promising second lottery pick on their squad (Jabari Parker) and the unpredictable Jason Kidd as the new coach. Marshall said the following fittingly via Twitter:
“It’s been a roller coaster these first two years! Learning so much about basketball and business, loving the process. I’d like to thank the entire @Lakers organization for giving me a chance. from management, coaches, to teammates. and lastly, I’d like to thank chipotle. I’m lookin forward to seein what the chipotles in MIL have to offer. #FearTheBeardedDeer“
My dream job is to cover the NBA for a website or newspaper or magazine, and I’m entering my senior year of college working my way there. But for now, I live vicariously through the reporters who are currently out there in the field, traveling to the NBA Finals games. I follow a good amount of them on Twitter.
Usually after games I’m reveling over their witty remarks, and reading various game write-ups. Tonight looked slightly different. I noticed an abundance of media commenting on questions that were being asked in the postgame pressers. And it wasn’t just Coach Pop being Coach Pop — I’m talking questions from way out of left field.
Then, there was also this question by Ramos. Again.
A strange media night capped the historic game in which the Spurs completely went off on the Heat, winning 111-92. A Twitter search for “Bobby Ramos” speaks for itself.
Additionally, I’d use his question blunders as a cautionary tale for myself. Nothing dies with social media.
Why Sports Are Worth Caring About
They hit me in the gut:
The people who discount sports as silly games that adults play for loads of cash. I’ve heard people say sports aren’t important and that they’re pointless. I’ve heard people say sports are so easy to cover (“Just go to a few games and write about it — that’s it!”). And that hurts me. Personally.
Granted, sports is not life and death. In fact, I’ll admit it often is pure entertainment. Eighty-five percent of the time, sports is not hard news. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
1) The Story Lines
Take, for instance, the 2014 NCAA Championship game featuring No. 7-seeded UConn and No. 8-seeded Kentucky. From that sentence in itself, it’s obvious the two teams left standing at the end clawed their way to Texas. UConn’s fresh-faced, recently retired NBA-er coach, Kevin Ollie, notched a place in history as only the second coach to win an NCAA championship in a first tourney go-around. As a whole, the UConn team became the first ever No. 7-seed to win in the finals. Tales of ordinary people fighting against all odds — and winning — come alive in the sports world. They inspire generations of kids to ball it up in driveways and plaster posters of athletes on their bedroom walls. Sports matter.
2) The Attitude
Before starting an internship, during November and December of 2013 I held a brief stint as a freelancer for a local Malibu paper in which I mainly covered Malibu High School sports. Malibu High is a small school. Their website says the graduating senior class is just shy of 200 kids. So naturally, their sports teams play in the smaller leagues, and sometimes they struggle quite a bit. The first assignment the editor gave me was to cover the last football game of the year. The team had not won a single game. Expectations were low, however, when I got there, under the lights of the Moorpark Community College stadium, the atmosphere was electric. Parents paced the sidelines, and teammates loudly and proudly jumped around, cheering each other on. Malibu led 21-13 at one point. They lost 52-13, but they led at one point. Those boys could’ve easily been rolled over. Imagine losing game after game. Instead they barreled out swinging with a “no quit” attitude, as the coach said after the game. Sports matter.
On the same night of the 2014 NCAA Championship game, a UConn RA named “Derek” sent out an email to students in his dorm that quickly flew around the Twittersphere. In it, he compares cheering for men’s UConn basketball to cheering for laundry. Additionally, he ends by saying, “Have fun, but not too much fun.” Whether or not the email was intended to be sarcastic is beside the point. The point is that sports are chock full of guts and glory. Sports are talent and heart and hard work and dedication all wrapped into games on fields and courts. If you’re blind to the impact that sports have on society, then your name might as well be Derek.
If you’re not a “sports person,” I encourage you to go out and enjoy a game: baseball, volleyball, basketball, football, tennis, soccer and the list goes on. Even if you don’t know the rules, talk to some fans, read about the players, look into the stories. If you’re looking for a place to start, try this piece (if this doesn’t tug at your heart strings, I’m not sure what will).
Give sports a shot. I promise it will be worth it.
I know, I know. It’s the preseason. Only 21 games that don’t really matter have happened. I told myself I wouldn’t get too excited.
But then I turned on the tail end of the Brooklyn-Wizards game yesterday. And then Glen Rice Jr. had a dunk at the buzzer to send the game into OT. After that I watched the Lakers take on the Nuggets, and barely recognized their roster (I’m all caught up now).
So now I’ll dedicate my life to the NBA, once again, as I do every year come fall. The battle between game times and homework assignments begins, usually resulting in late nights; sometimes from busting out papers or cramming for tests, other times they’re from being too pumped up off a close game to sleep. Heat-Spurs Game 6, I was buzzing well past 2 a.m.
From the two preseason games I’ve seen thus far, here’s my quick take in seven sentences:
The Lakers show promise. I’m sad Metta is gone. Purple and yellow has given Nick Young superpowers. Xavier has a cool name pronunciation. Sacre has cool tattoos. Chris Kaman defied my expectations. Jason Kidd looks weird as the head honcho in a suit.
As far as I’m concerned, the NBA season is officially underway.
If you’re interested in NBA Twitter opinion, I humbly ask you to follow me. And if you love the NBA as much as I do, leave your handle in the comments.