The Oklahoma City Thunder is all a Twitter

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer ,dmayberry@opubco.com Published: October 18, 2009
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221; Toronto rookie forward DeMar DeRozan on Friday pledged to give away tickets to fans in every city the Raptors play in if he reaches 20,000 followers by opening night.

"When I was growing up you didn’t get to do that,” Durant said. "I try to put myself in other people’s shoes. So if they have questions I try my best to answer them. But if I had an opportunity to talk to an NBA player, that would have been one of the highlights of my life.”

But the Web site also has its pitfalls.

In March, Detroit forward Charlie Villanueva, then with Milwaukee, became one of the first players to make the NBA view Twitter in a different light. Villanueva tweeted from the locker room during halftime of a game between his Bucks and the Boston Celtics. In June, Minnesota forward Kevin Love broke new ground by unintentionally breaking news on his account that Wolves coach Kevin McHale would not be returning for the 2009-10 season.

More serious incidents occurred with Miami forward Michael Beasley and Denver guard J.R. Smith this summer. Beasley checked into rehab just days after a picture posted to his Twitter account showed a questionable-looking bag resting on a table in the background. Beasley, who has rejoined the Heat, preceded his trip to rehab with a series of eyebrow-raising tweets. One read, "Feelin like it’s not worth livin!!!! I’m done.”

Smith, who once played in Oklahoma City as a member of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, created controversy when some of his messages were written with what appeared to be gang-related spellings.

Both Smith and Beasley’s accounts have been deleted.

The NBA last month implemented league-wide policy on such social media sites. Players are now prohibited from using cell phones, PDAs and other electronic communicating devices "during games,” or 45 minutes before tip-off through the fulfillment of media obligations after the game. The rule includes halftime.

Each franchise is permitted to implement additional regulations. The Thunder is scheduled to have its annual media training session this week. A team spokesman said social networking guidance will be a part of the session.

"I have no issues with it,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who isn’t a member of the site and mandates only that his players don’t tweet from practice.

"I think it’s a way for guys to communicate with one another and communicate with the fans. I think it’s important for our guys to stay connected. As long as they don’t give away any of what we do I have no problem with it.”

As for Green, he’s hooked. Ironically, he’s found himself in the same place Durant and Westbrook were in only a few months ago. Only it’s former Georgetown teammate John Wallace who Green is encouraging to sign up.

"He likes to look at mine and just make fun of me,” Green said.

Chances are, Wallace will come around.