Mashable.com – Jalen Rose’s Fab 5: Athletes Who Would Have Been Social Media Mavens
November 19, 2009
November 19th, 2009
by Jalen Rose
This post is part of Mashable’s Fab Five series with Jalen Rose, which highlights trends in the social media space. Jalen Rose is a former 13-year NBA star and current ESPN basketball analyst but may be best known for being a member of the famous University of Michigan Fab Five.
Until a couple of years ago, social media did not exist, and professional athletes had to go through the media to show their personalities and communicate with their fans. But recently, sites like Facebook() and Twitter have given pro athletes the ability to be themselves and speak for themselves. I know I would have liked to have social media during my career, but I’m happy to have it now. Here are five athletes who, for various reasons, really would have benefited from having social media during their careers. It would have been fun to see.
1. Muhammad Ali
A cultural icon, he changed his name from Cassius Clay after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964. Ali, a three-time heavyweight champion would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” right past his opponents. He had the best combination of intelligence, power, skill and showmanship that sports will ever see, and will no doubt go down in history as “the greatest of all time.” Muhammad Ali is your icon’s favorite icon.
What social media app would have been most suitable for The Champ? I could see Ali having been great on Ustream(). He had a personality that shined best in person, and an unforgettable voice. Ali was a man with deep political and religious beliefs, and he would have used Ustream to share them with the world.
2. Babe Ruth
The man had mystical status on and off the baseball diamond. This legendary slugger held or still holds many of baseball’s most important hitting records. Ruth was one of the more popular spokespersons of his Yankees era, and was famously noted to make sure liquor, women, partying, and sex were always present. Curfew was not an option, but Babe Ruth was not your typical athlete.
Ruth would have been king of Twitter() in his day. I can only imagine some of the tweets and Twitpics that would have come from his account. I’m not sure the Red Sox or Yankees would have been too happy about it, but then again, Ruth was pretty open about his extracurricular activities and I don’t think anyone cared as long as he kept playing the way he did.
3. Wilt Chamberlain
He is the most unstoppable force the NBA has seen. His size, ability, and power are legendary. Chamberlain holds the record for most points in a single game with 100, and had season averages of 50 points and 25 rebounds. He was also the only center to ever lead the league in assists. Chamberlain was larger than life and had the personality to match it.
Being a bit of a flirt and a ladies’ man, Wilt would have been a champ on Flickr(). I could see him creating albums and albums full of all of the women he met. Also, he loved the camera. Like I said, he was a big man with a big personality and a lot of confidence, and he loved the spotlight. Flickr would have helped Wilt shine.
4. Deion Sanders
Before the NFL draft, “Prime Time” showed up at his workout riding in a limo. He went on to run the fastest 40-yard dash in the NFL Scouting Combine’s history. Sanders told my hometown Detroit Lions that we would have to “put me on layaway” if we drafted him. He is the only athlete ever to play in a Super Bowl and World Series, and is known for his trademark high-stepping and touchdown dances. His biography was called “Power, Money, and Sex(): Success Almost Ruined My Life.”
In his playing days, Deion Sanders would have had some great tweets. His would be similar to the style of current NFL player and Twitter aficionado Chad Ochocinco; a lot of trash talking, calling out his opponents, and confident self-promotion. My only concern is that he would not have been able to limit his comments to 140 characters!
5. Dennis Rodman
Sometimes known as “The Worm,” the eclectic Rodman won 5 NBA titles as a player, with the Pistons and Bulls. Rodman’s “different” persona was as well known as his hard-nosed defense and trademark rebounding. He routinely sported multiple hair colors, as well as tattoos, and body piercings, and wrote a book titled, “Walk on the Wild Side.”
Rodman actually has a Facebook Fan Page, but it’s pretty tame now that he’s retired — imagine what he could have done with Facebook while he was a player. He was known to throw and attend a lot of parties, and could definitely have taken advantage of Facebook Events. Rodman would have been able to exhibit his personality through videos and photos, and it sure would have been interesting to see some of the status updates that came from his Fan Page!
Images via Walter Huang on Flickr and the Wikimedia Commons.
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