Social media has changed sports. Some say for bad, but for those of us that follow sports, and more specifically, the NBA, closely, it’s definitely for the better.
Whereas team press releases used to dictate the news cycle and the majority of breaking news, people like Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski are breaking stories when athletes aren’t doing it themselves.
One such athlete who has given fans a closer look at his professional career and personal life is San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili.
Ginobili, whose tweets and updates are quite tame compared to the online Durant vs. Wade jabs, said he turned to social media because he found it the best channel to inform his fans the way he wanted to and when he wanted to, according to an article on canchallena.com.
"Before a reporter came and asked me if I was going to renew. Over there, I was negotiating with the club and did not want to answer. But I couldn’t say that I had to make up an answer. Instead, with Twitter, when you feel you’re ready, It’s a great tool. People end up knowing much more about you, but be very careful, because I communicate the way I want and when I want," says Manu.
Ginobili sends his 140 characters into the cloud in both English and Spanish and his updates are everything from support to his fellow teammates playing overseas, some play-by-play of new teammate Marco Bellineli’s games with Italy to updates of the first week of school for his kids.
Ginobili talked about other differences of using social media and dealing with media, but does say, on some occasions, he has a social media filter in his wife Many, that approves updates of a more personal nature.
"I never would have given a reporter a picture of my son. Now I'm in the park and want to share a photo and post it. At the time I wanted, the way I wanted and checked by my wife (laughs) . [Twitter] is a much more direct and pleasant, "he admits.
However, for Ginobili, there’s one time of the year where he chooses to ignore or not pay close attention to social media.
"In the playoffs, I don’t look at any mentions or let it affect me. It does absolutely nothing for you, either for good or for bad. Just like the media, they praise you when you do well and kick you when you do badly. But you're the same. You simply had a good match or a bad one. You cannot let that drag you down, you have to be sure of what you did,” he says.
There’s no doubting that while social media has its many benefits, the downsides do pop up from time to time. Luckily for Spurs fans though, Ginobili embraced it early on and has taken fans along for the ride through his Twitter updates, Facebook status messages, Twitpics and even Reddit AMA.