Over the past several days, the Pistons' Charlie Villanueva and the Raptors' Chris Bosh battled to see which player could be the first to get 50,000 followers on Twitter. Before Bosh was declared the winner early Wednesday morning, SI.com's Jimmy Traina spoke with Villanueva about Twitter, as well as the LeBron James controversy and more.
SI.com: You just signed a $35 million contract with the Pistons. Why do you care about having 50,000 followers?
Villanueva: It's my competitive nature. I approached Bosh with the idea because we both had a similar amount of followers, so I just said let's see who can get to 50,000 first, and it took off from there. It just got more and more exciting and now a lot of people are supporting us.
SI.com: What does the winner get?
Villanueva: We both make a lot of YouTube videos, so the loser will have to be a character that the winner decides.
SI.com: And now you're giving away sneakers?
Villanueva: When I hit a little over 46,000 followers, I said for every follower I get after that, I'll donate a new pair of shoes to needy children. That's 3,172 happy kids [as of Tuesday afternoon], to be exact.
SI.com: And you're giving away tickets?
Villanueva: I'm going to give sets of tickets to five people for a Pistons game in their home city.
SI.com: You made news last season when you tweeted during halftime of a Bucks game, and then got in trouble for it. You're on a new team now. Will you tweet at halftime again?
Villanueva: [Laughing] I haven't talked to coach [John Kuester] about that. But [Pistons president] Joe Dumars is all for it. He gave me his blessing.
SI.com: So you'll tweet at halftime next season?
Villanueva: I have to run it by coach. But if coach is cool with it, I will.
SI.com: Would you ever tweet during a game from the bench?
Villanueva: Nah, I won't do that. But at halftime, when you have a little time, it's cool.
SI.com: Who are your three favorite athletes to follow on Twitter?
Villanueva: Kevin Love, Dwight Howard and Lamar Odom.
SI.com: And who are your three favorite celebrities to follow?
Villanueva: MC Hammer. I sent him a tweet on Tuesday about the competition and he was all for it. He responded right away. He's a big Detroit fan, so that was exciting to me, talking to MC Hammer. My other favorites are Tyrese and Diddy. He's on there heavy.
SI.com: Would you say you're addicted to Twitter?
Villanueva: Right now, I'm heavily addicted. I enjoy being on it. People send me the funniest videos on there. There's actually a hilarious video someone sent me of two kids reenacting the LeBron James tape thing. It was hilarious.
SI.com: Speaking of that, have you heard any inside scoop on what exactly happened?
Villanueva: I don't know. I only know what everyone's been saying, that LeBron asked Nike to confiscate the tapes.
SI.com: What do you think about that?
Villanueva: Everybody gets dunked on. Everybody is human. There's no reason to hide it.
SI.com: How badly do you want to see the tape?
Villanueva: I really want see it because if he asked for the tapes to be confiscated, it must have been bad -- real bad.
SI.com: LeBron is really taking a lot of heat for this.
Villanueva: I think it's because nobody has seen the dunk except the people who were there. So everyone else is frustrated. And he's going to get a lot of heat for that.
SI.com: And now you guys, opponents, have good stuff to rib him about.
Villanueva: [Laughing] We sure do now. We have some ammunition now.
SI.com: I just have some random questions. Have you seen Brüno?
Villanueva: Yeah, it was hilarious. I couldn't believe some of the things he did but it was very funny.
SI.com: Have you seen The Hangover?
Villanueva: Oh, yeah, that was awesome. One of the funniest movies ever.
SI.com: What are your favorite TV shows?
Villanueva: SportsCenter, Around the Horn. I don't like the regular shows or the reality shows. Just sports shows.
SI.com: What was the last CD you bought/downloaded?
Villanueva: Latest from Jadakiss.
SI.com: OK, this last question can make or break you in terms of getting followers. Who are your three favorite female celebrities?
Villanueva: You have to put Beyonce in the top three. I put her No. 2. My No. 1 would be Halle Berry. For an older woman, she is nice. And I love Alicia Keys.
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