My first encounter with Twitter (Dudley's account
I thought it was perfect for me and my personality. I thought I'd take it one step further and show my personality while interacting with fans. What it gives that I didn't have growing up is you can know what a celebrity or an athlete are doing, to know what their everyday life is, when we're all really doing something that we love to do.
From me talking to rappers on Twitter, to (singer) Jordin Sparks, to people following you who you watch on American Idol, it's just crazy, man. Like (PGA golfer and 2012 Master Tournament winner) Bubba Watson. I was able to interact with him at a celebrity game and that was before he won the Masters when he was an ordinary guy. And then he won the Masters and now his (Twitter) followers go from like 300,000 to what they are now (approximately 675,000). You know what it is? It's made the world a lot smaller, and it makes everything just a lot easier to interact with people. I think it's great. A lot of people think it's a fad, but I don't think it's going away anytime soon.
For me, personally, I try to deal on Twitter only in positive. But I think the fans get a little too worked up when it comes to the (NBA) games. Especially in basketball, there's 82 games and if your team loses two or three they want a trade. Then they blow up your timeline. It's 'What happened?' Well, you're playing against other elite athletes. I don't let it bother me, because it's just part of life. But if you can't handle it mentally, then Twitter might not be for you. There are going to be fans who say rude, disrespectful things. Sometimes you can retweet it, and try to put that fan on blast and kill them with kindness. But it can get to you depending on how disrespectful people can be.
Another negative thing is that sometimes people take stuff out of context from what you're saying. I remember during the NBA lockout (last summer), (National Basketball Players Association executive director) Billy (Hunter) didn't like a couple of my comments (on Twitter) about how stuff was going on with the NBPA and the NBA. My whole thing was I didn't think we had a good solution. I didn't think we had a good plan.
I had a couple players, and a couple of (NBPA) executive members call me (about his tweets). Billy called and wanted to know what was my take with what was going on and if I wanted to be more involved. I was obviously a player rep (for the Suns), so it wasn't like I'm a Joe Schmoe who's talking about something I know nothing about. I knew what was going on. We got it resolved. It wasn't like a heated blow up, it was like, 'Hey, here's my opinion on this.'
If I don't feel like the plan is up to par, then I'm not willing to sit back and be quiet and let a couple million go, where that couple million when I'm 40 years old is a little better. That's why I felt like, 'Well, if I ruffle some feathers, that's fine, but at least we're going to have a decent discussion about it.'
Twitter helps get the message out there. For one, every sportswriter, every (media) agency is following me. So some other people might have 400,000 to a million followers, but my followers have a lot of followers. They have a lot of different outlets. And I'm someone where, I don't get in trouble, I'm respected by my peers, I'm someone who's educated - went to Boston College, got my degree - so when I say something, I'm not doing it without thinking, or without doing research. My voice is going to be heard. I'm not going to say anything outrageous, but I'm going to say something strong where I don't agree and I'll state the facts of what I don't agree about.
At first, (Twitter) was just talking to fans and a way to give information faster. Like your at a restaurant and you say, 'Hey I'm over here, what should I see (at the movies),' and just giving people an outlook on the NBA lifestyle, like the food, the hotels, telling fans, 'Hey this is what an NBA player is, and I'm going to give you video and quotes from different players saying 'Hey this is what they do.'
But once I started doing different blogs and things, I thought, 'Hey you know what? This could be a post-playing option.'...At the end of the day being a basketball player is short(lived). I want to give myself options and maybe be able to work at ESPN, or do blogs at NBC or be a sports reporter. I don't know if I'd focus just on basketball, but maybe do like (former Giants running back) Tiki Barber used to do, where he was on NBC during the day. Sometimes that comes when you win championships or you're an All-Star. And so far, those two (things) I'm not so my personality has to come out better than those guys.
I'm a fan like these guys (on Twitter), so I'm like, 'Hey what do you think of the Ray Allen situation? Do you think he should've stayed (in Boston)...My place is to have a forum where we can talk about it and I give my two cents from my perspective as an NBA player.