You probably remember the “controversy.”
Lakers No. 2 pick and hope for the future face of the franchise (they hope) D’Angelo Russell tweeted out this:
To which Kobe Bryant responded:
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 15, 2015
That tweet plus less kind ones from a lot of Lakers fans had Russell back peddling quickly.
Russell spoke to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News recently about some things — including his Summer League struggles — and one of the topics was that tweet. Russell took a pretty rational approach to it.
“There’s a lot of spoiled Lakers fans. I wasn’t downgrading Kobe at all,” Russell said Saturday in an interview with the Los Angeles News Group. “I was just watching a highlight tape of Tracy McGrady and I got excited. I tweeted and the whole state of California went crazy.”
He’s right. There are plenty of spoiled Lakers fans. Take it from someone who used to run a Lakers’ blog, there is a segment of that fan base that isn’t happy unless the Lakers win two NBA titles a year.
That said, those people don’t like to be called out. Russell will hear from them soon.
More than that, what happened to Russell with this tweet speaks to a mindset online, particularly on Twitter — people have their favorites and see any attempt to raise anyone else up as a direct challenge to their established order. You can’t say LeBron James will go down as one of the game’s all-time greats without some fool bringing how he’s no Michael Jordan. As if saying LeBron is amazing is somehow an insult to MJ. Same thing here. Vintage Tracy McGrady was a joy to watch and a fantastic player, it’s fair to wonder how we view him if not for injuries at the end of his career, and if you want to say maybe he should be considered in the GOAT conversation that is not a direct insult to Kobe or MJ or Wilt or whoever.
But reasonable discussions on twitter are too often hard to find.