On Monday, Houston Rockets star guard Jalen Green joined LA Clippers star forward Paul George on the "Podcast P' show, which is Presented by Wave Sports and Entertainment. The two discussed several topics, ranging from a potential James Harden return to Houston, the Rockets' newly-hired coach Ime Udoka, and much more.
Perhaps the most serious topic the two discussed centers around toxic NBA fans, particularly those on Twitter, which we know can be a cesspool. Green was discussing his use of the social media application, which George stated is a slippery slope, and said the following:
Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green spearheads conversation regarding the toxicity of NBA fans on social media
"Going on Twitter after a game, you're either going to scroll and see 'okay, I got off tonight' or 'damn everybody is on my f-king head.' Like they'll be cool with you and praise you but once you have a bad game it's 'oh this n- sucks, he's not good, and he's going to China. I'm like bro God damn."
George said, "That's what kind of deferred me from being on social media. Cause for a minute, I was like that. I felt I could do no wrong. The world loves me. And then I would start to hit the negative tweets or the negative comments and it's like 'ah, I can't do this sh-t.....some people just be evil bro...that sh-t is piercing sometimes. People say words don't hurt, that sh-t pierces sometimes."
Green responded, "I think I did that my rookie year too. I deleted Twitter for a minute when I was going through it. That sh-t lingers in the back of your head."
This exchange between George and Green illustrates the need for change, as it pertains to toxic fans on social media. Or perhaps simply the realization that one's words can have an effect on everyone, even professional athletes.
The challenge is that you can't tell fans how to be fans. In many cases, fans feel like they've invested resources in their favorite team, so there can oftentimes be an emotional effect of their favorite team losing due to one player's poor performance.
We've seen players speak out about the toxicity of fans, especially as it pertains to social media, or simply in general. For example, Kyle Kuzma mentioned how Los Angeles Lakers fans can oftentimes cross the line, which his former teammate Markieff Morris also mentioned.
Boston Celtics All-NBA guard Jaylen Brown also mentioned the Celtics' fanbase as one of the more toxic ones.
"It is a part of the fan base that exists within Celtic nation that is problematic. If you have a bad game, they tie it to your personal character.
I definitely think there’s a group or an amount within the Celtic nation that is extremely toxic and does not want to see athletes use their platform, or they just want you to play basketball and entertain and go home. And that’s problematic to me.”
It's okay to be critical of one's poor play and/or performance, so long as it doesn't morph into death threats and/or anything similar. For instance, former Rockets center Clint Capela had his vehicle vandalized after a poor outing in the playoffs against the Golden State Warriors, which is obviously crossing the line.
At the end of the day, it's most important to consider that these athletes have feelings too. And while this may come off as an attempt to police fandom, it's merely just a reminder to not say anything to them that you wouldn't want to be said to you, especially after a not-so-productive day in the office.