COMMENTARY | Kobe Bryant's Twitter account is the result of what happens when you mix other-worldly basketball talent, business acumen, technological savvy and snarky wit.
The Black Mamba is a legend on the court to say the least, and his willingness to embrace social media after resisting for a long time has taken him to another level off of it. His willingness to connect with fans on the most intimate level has made him a finalist for the NBA Social MVP award along with Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James of the Miami Heat.
Bryant should get the nod not only because he's the new kid on the Twitter block, but also because he's as dynamic on the social platform as he is on the hardwood.
Here are 10 tweets, in no particular order, that demonstrate why he deserves to receive the award on Wednesday, June 12th:
No. 1: #Mambatweets becomes a real thing
"The antisocial becomes social #mambatweets"
-- January 4
His first tweet ever demonstrated that Bryant "gets it" when it comes to running a one-man corporation. He's long been somewhat of an enigma, especially in his younger days, but has recently given more of himself to fans than ever before.
In 2011, he teased us all with the idea that he would create an account, but it never came to fruition. This time, it was real.
No. 2: Retro Mamba
"Imagine that! My pre-draft workout with the C's 1996 with the late Dennis Johnson #countonhistory"
-- February 6
It's hard to believe that it's been almost 18 years since David Stern called Bryant's name on draft day. This tweet takes his followers back to the days when he was a young kid who loved to shoot as he ironically worked out with the Boston Celtics.
He still loves to shoot, but now he's a grown man who knows how to appease his fans in the virtual world.
No. 3: Drama in Laker-land?
"The mamba vs d12 !! It's on lol"
-- January 7
In a series of events consistent with every-day drama in Laker-land, rumors swirled early in the year of Dwight Howard and Bryant having a physical altercation.
Kobe played this one brilliantly and satirized it on Twitter, even involving head coach Mike D'Antoni.
If you can't beat 'em, mock 'em!
No. 4: Matt Bonner invades Kobe's timeline
"#redmamba haha I luv that"
-- April 21
Matt Bonner was having a nice game for the San Antonio Spurs as Kobe live-tweeted the action. When he glossed Bonner with the nickname, it went viral and stuck. In fact, Mike Breen mentioned the name on ABC's broadcast of the 2013 NBA Finals on several occasions.
It also begs the question: Are there any other color mambas around the league? He also glossed Steve Blake the "White Mamba", and may have a few more up his sleeve.
No. 5: Coach Kobe
"what would I say if I was there right now? 'Pau get ur *** on the block and don't move till u get it"'#realtalk"
-- April 21
Kobe isn't wired like anyone else on the planet. He's as competitive as they come, and sometimes it manifests itself when he has to put a teammate in check.
Except this time, he was laid up at home watching his team when he lit into Pau Gasol. This tweet garnered plenty of reaction from the basketball world and still serves as a fine example of how Bryant isn't afraid to let his guys have it.
No. 6: Perspective
"The reasons training, diet and ice baths are endured"
-- January 6
Kobe is getting reflective as his career comes to a close, and this phrase sums up why he works so hard. The sacrifice, sweat and tears have to mean something, and as evidenced here, it clearly does.
No. 7: Take that, Cubes!
-- February 24
Any time a member of the Lakers gets the better of Mark Cuban and / or the Dallas Mavericks, it's a good day in Hollywood.
This night, in particular, was especially gratifying because no sooner than Cuban said in an interview that the Lakers should use their amnesty provision to rid themselves of Bryant's $30 million contract next season, he went out and put together a vintage performance against their longtime rivals.
Bryant didn't need any more than two words to give Cuban the ultimate burn.
No. 8: The Twitter scavenger hunt, Mamba style
"Let's do this Miami style! Shoes & tix for the first fan in Miami to find this spot. Ask mgr for the Mamba Special!"
-- February 9
One month in, and Bryant already started doing scavenger hunts. Very nice. It's hard to pinpoint which star athlete started this Twitter trend(Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson comes to mind), but it's caught on and Kobe's embraced it.
It's a brilliant way to connect -- sharing the places you've been or enjoy frequenting with those that follow you. Bryant already mastered this technique as a Twitter fledgling.
No. 9: Social commentary
"That's not #coaching that's a power trip #rutgersbasketball. At a minimum it's horrible coaching #coachdontbully"
-- April 4
Ousted Rutgers head coach Mike Rice embarrased himself and the university with his deplorable behavior and got due criticism. Bryant was among the most prominent figures to speak out against his actions, and No. 24 took to social media to send a message.
No. 10: An intimate update
"Cast off today. I have zero swelling and virtually no pain. Boot now for a few months. I start therapy…"
-- April 23
Every major sports publication on the planet is chronicling Bryant's Achilles' injury and subsequent rehab, but herein lies the real beauty and essence of Twitter. Bryant tweeted this update of his injury on his timeline without a filter.
And that's precisely what those who don't "get" Twitter are missing out on. It's not a way to talk about what you had for breakfast, it's a filter-less medium into the lives and day-to-day happenings of the people you're most interested in.
Kobe has managed to find the right balance of insight, humor and interaction, something that without question should earn him the Social MVP Award on Wednesday.
For more on the Lakers and the NBA, catch up with this author on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA as a Southern California-based sports journalist and editor. He contributes to SB Nation in addition to Yahoo! Sports and is the Managing Editor and Founder of Sports Out West.
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