Unaccustomed both to the rate and the depth at which the Los Angeles Lakers were losing during his brief stint as their coach late in the 1993-94 season,
So when a beeper went off early on the morning of April 14, 1994,
That was 15 years ago. According to Moore's Law -- the transistors theory that claims computing power grows exponentially, doubling every two years or so -- that means Divac's beeper was the equivalent of scratchings on cave walls in terms of personal technology in the hands of an NBA player. These days, the car phones and pagers that drew Johnson's ire are clogging landfills, replaced several times over by PDAs and BlackBerries and iPhones.
And of course Twitter.
The point is, NBA players are young, bright, well-paid and hyper-attuned to trends and culture and they have gobs of free time on their hands, all of which makes them natural candidates to jump on board new technologies. Early adopters, as they say in the gadgets trade. Coaches, on the other hand, are traditionally older, busier, more susceptible to job loss, more set in their ways and definitely more single-minded, which puts them on the other end of breakthroughs and slick toys.
That dichotomy leads to a lot of shrugs, bewilderment, slow burns and stuff thrown against walls. The NBA loves its reputation as a cutting-edge league -- online All-Star voting and 3-D telecasts, anyone? -- and coaches are happy to tolerate gizmos when they allow their big men to study DVD breakdowns of last night's low-post moves on a MacBook. But with some of these advances, they remain well behind the curve.
"Twitting? What is it?'" Oklahoma City interim coach
Informed that, no, this goes on now at halftime -- in Villanueva's case and in the case of
Unbeknownst to him and most other NBA coaches, their locker rooms are full of tweeters these days, to the point that it soon will be easier to name those who don't than those who do. Other players known to be active on Twitter include
Just Wednesday night, about an hour before Phoenix's home game against Utah, The_Real_Shaq put this up on his feed (typos and all): "I have oe ticket laft at will call under twitter, first one there its yurs just say twitter.'' No word on who snagged the ticket, but it wasn't the first sweepstakes conducted by the, er, Big Twit.
"I was surfing around on Google and saw that Shaq was on Twitter,'' O'Neal's former teammate
Madsen, a Timberwolves forward with an economics degree from Stanford, asked me if I'm on Twitter, and I told him not yet. I'm pretty savvy with mp3 players, I know my way around podcasts and my life would grind to a halt without my DVR. But I had to admit I'd just last week learned what a "boss button'' is. (It's the thing you click to instantly hide the NCAA streaming video on your PC monitor, lest your supervisor walk past your cubicle. I blame working from a home office for my slow adoption in this case.)
"Shaq posts pretty much all the time,'' Madsen continued. "We were on our bus when I saw where Shaq had put up a post that said something like, 'Sitting here in Scottsdale at the Four Seasons hotel. First one to get here wins.' Shaq's next post said, 'Eight minutes left, no one's here yet.' Then a few minutes later, he posts, 'We have a winner,' and he put the guy's name up there."
Madsen is a rare pro athlete who hosts not one but two Web sites. There's
"I read an article in
Typing that or anything else in during an NBA game, though, might not be the smartest use of a smart phone.
"The fans love that stuff but the coach doesn't,'' Madsen conceded. "If I was playing for [Milwaukee's]