By: Rob Botts
There is a wise, old sage who used to roam the sidelines as a head coach in the National Football League who has been dropping a golden nugget of advice to the kids over the more recent years at ESPN. That former coach and ESPN analyst would be none other than Herm Edwards. That golden nugget of advice would be the following: “Don’t hit send.” Great piece of advice. It really is. But these “old school” guys just don’t understand how easy it is to just press a button and be able to communicate with so many people with one single act. Back in the day, it just wasn’t that easy to communicate with a mass audience and with such immediacy while in an emotional state. The advice back then might sound something like this: “Don’t put a stamp on that letter!” “Don’t return that phone call!” “Don’t beep that person!” Ok. Sounds good. But it was way more work back in those times. Most of these guys would be cooled off by then or realize that they should be keeping what they really wanted to express, to themselves.
Case in point would be the fact that Larry Nance, the former NBA all-star who once had major hops, didn’t have the immediate communicative technology outlets to get off some remarks that he might have ended up regretting a minute or two later. Unfortunately for all involved, his son Larry Nance Jr. did have the ability to place his foot squarely and deeply into his mouth via today’s loaded online gun, Twitter a few years back. Here was the tweet by a then, 19 year old Nance: “Gee I sure hope Kobe can keep his hands to himself in Denver this time.” “#rapist.” I think Nance’s foot had actually traveled down his throat, trough the stomach and had gotten lodged in his lower intestine before it eventually got deleted as soon as the Lakers took the kid at the 27h spot in the recent 2015 NBA draft.
It was a mistake by a teenager. The age group from 13 – 20 tends to make a great deal of them because, well, that’s when we all make a great deal of our mistakes. We are quick to react and even quicker to speak. Not that the rest of us from 21 and over are that much better in terms of judgement or reactions, but the teens are kids. We need to give them a pass on things like this. It is how their generation communicates. Tweeting is like just saying something to your buddies. All 10 thousand of them. At once. With witnesses. A lot of witnesses.
Nance’s now teammate and future hall of famer Mr. Kobe Bryant gave the kid a break: “The kid figured it out himself,” Bryant said. “He’s a kid, man. I said, ‘Dude, listen. We’ve all said things and done things that we regret and wish we could take back. It’s water under the bridge, man. Welcome to the team.’ ” The kid needs to be thanking his lucky stars that it is an older, gentler Kobe and not the younger, brash and absolute killer of a teammate that he used to be Bryant that he is dealing with now. It was good to see Bryant accepting the kid’s apology and letting deleted tweets be deleted tweets. But, that was Kobe Brant’s reaction. What is the “Black Mamba” going to do and say to the kid? It might go something like this:
The Mamba strolls over to Larry Nance Jr after their first day of practice together as a team and tosses a ball at him. Nance is surprised, but catches the leather and stands there nervously as the Mamba slithers over. “Game to 11. Your ball,” says the Mamba. Nance takes a couple short steps back and checks the ball with the Mamba. Nance takes one dribble to his left and pulls up for a jumper. Clang! Off the rim and it falls into the waiting arms of the Mamba. Pull up jumper by the Mamba. Bam! Elbow into the gut of Nance and a one handed leaner drops in off the window. The Mamba now lets Nance know what elementary school he is enrolling him in as he pulls up for a short jumper in the lane. Swish! One dribble, shot-fake, smirk and bucket by the Mamba. In and out dribble, followed by a cross over dribble and then a driving up and under for the score. An “MJ” back down in the post that leads to a fall way jumper. Boom! A fake right, then exploding to the left lay in off the glass for a point. A drive hard to the right, jump stop, shot fake, shot fake, and then a straight up jumper for nothing but net. The Mamba palms the ball and then bounces it off Nance’s forehead back to himself for a calm, cold blooded jumper at the top of the key. The Mamba gets a quick first step to the left and then pulls up for the jumper at the elbow. Bam! “Game point,” whispers the Mamba through his NBA veteran fangs. Super fast, no dribble jump shot right in the rookie’s face. Swish! Lesson taught.
As Nance is bent over catching his young breath, a hand pats him on the back and stands him upright. The Mamba is gone and Kobe Bryant is standing in front of the Laker rookie. “All is good kid. Mamba just had to get that out,” says Bryant. Smiles are exchanged and both walk off.
One to ice every single body part. The other? To the locker room to NOT send a tweet.