Wiggins signing brings out dark side of social media
MAY 14, 2013 7:50p ET
Tuesday was one of those days, because Tuesday a high school basketball player picked a school.
The player is Andrew Wiggins. He's 18 and supposed to be the best thing since LeBron James or at least Kevin Durant. He's 6-foot-7, 190 pounds and they say he can shoot like Stephen Curry and run like Russell Westbrook and kiss the rim like Blake Griffin. Or something like that. Wiggins, announcing his decision at a small gathering with only the local newspaper there to record it, chose to play at Kansas, deeply disappointing fans at Florida State, North Carolina and particularly Kentucky, which, since John Calipari became the coach, is not accustomed to not getting the best player in the country.
KU fans were delirious, UK fans were despondent and FSU and UNC fans disappointed. Most of the people reacting on the Internet — probably 75 percent, from my sampling — handled it all just fine. It is just sports, after all, and "The Voice" is on tonight, you know?
The tweets ranged from disappointed-but-sportsmanlike …
A little bummed @22wiggins didnt pick Kentucky but I'm sure he'll be a star at Kansas. Kentucky still has the top recruiting class by far.
… to snotty-but-civil …
@22wiggins everyone makes mistakes lol. Good luck man.
… to angry and racist and homophobic …
@22wiggins I can't f***ing believe this you no good f***ing black a** b****. This is the biggest mistake you will ever make you d*** s*****
… to disturbing …
I hope Wiggins trips and tears his ACL, PCL, and MCL today
… to outright evil …
… and then to the soap opera. The story goes that Wiggins was still considering Kentucky last Friday, when a video posted on Vine.com showed someone saying, "F*** Andrew Wiggins. We don' need him,' in the back of Kentucky commit Aaron Harrison's car. The video has been deleted, but it made the rounds on the Internet and all the way to Wiggins, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
Wiggins, the LCJ reported, "didn’t like it."
Kentucky fans are taking most of the heat for this, but it is not fair for this to be considered a Big Blue Nation meltdown.
This is a human thing, not a Kentucky thing.
This is the Internet's ability to turn human beings into avatars, to reduce Wiggins — a real person who has insecurities, homework, girl problems — into a charm on a sports fan's sad little charm bracelet. To react this darkly to news this ultimately meaningless.
The raw sentiments aren't new — you think Wilt Chamberlain never heard any of this? Danny Manning? — but what is new is the ability to express your fury in the moment and directly to the object of it. If you wanted to curse out Wilt Chamberlain, you had to buy a stamp and you had to get out your stationery. And chances are, that would stay between you and The Big Dipper.
But that's not so, now. On the Internet, you can see anything, and that's great.
Some of the time.
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