NBA Draft Picks Were Put on Blast With These Old Embarrassing Tweets

Here’s some free advice for all of the guys who are hoping to get selected in the NBA Draft next year: start going through your various social media accounts now and deleting anything that could potentially come back to bite you once you walk across the stage and shake hands with Adam Silver. Trust us, it'll be well worth your time.

It should be a pretty simple concept, and NBA prospects pay agents, publicists, and other handlers quite a bit of money to make them look good in the public eye. We would guess that a big part of that is scrubbing anything that could be perceived as even slightly controversial off social media in the months, weeks, and even days leading up to a big event like the NBA Draft.

But on Thursday night, 60 players were selected during the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and after they were drafted, Twitter went into overdrive and started looking through their old tweets to try and dig up any dirt that they may have posted in the past. And somewhat amazingly—in a “How the hell is this still happening?” kind of way—there were quite a few players who had incriminating stuff located deep in their Twitter timelines.

Some of the stuff was relatively harmless but still raised eyebrows among NBA fan bases. For example, Jayson Tatum—who was selected No. 3 overall by the Celtics—once sent out this tweet in the middle of a Boston game in 2012:

Jayson Tatum tweet.
Image via Twitter

Likewise, Lonzo Ball, the Lakers’ pick at No. 2 overall, sent out this tweet back in 2013 that seemed to predict Kobe Bryant & Co. wouldn’t make the playoffs before the 2013-14 season even started:

Lonzo Ball tweet.
Image via Twitter

Jordan Bell, who was drafted by the Bulls at No. 38 before being traded to the Warriors, said this about Golden State in 2016:

And Terrance Ferguson, selected with the No. 21 pick by the Thunder, had this to say about Oklahoma City when the Warriors were on the verge of coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 Western Conference Finals:

Terrance Ferguson tweet.
Image via Twitter

We’re sure OKC fans loved being reminded of that, especially since the loss to the Warriors ended up costing them Kevin Durant. We’re also sure they now appreciate the fact that Ferguson is actually from Oklahoma but was actively rooting against the Thunder as recently as just last year.

But those tweets were just the beginning. Elsewhere, Twitter dug up this old 2012 tweet from Edmond Sumner, the Pacers’ pick at No. 52, that featured him accusing the NBA of being fixed:

Edmond Sumner tweet.
Image via Twitter

There was also this tweet from Sindarius Thornwell, who was drafted at No. 48 by the Bucks before being traded to the Clippers, that outlined his approach to dating:

Sindarius Thornwell tweet.
Image via Twitter

But the most interesting—and the most embarrassing—old tweets came from the No. 9 and No. 10 picks in the draft. Zach Collins went tenth overall to the Trail Blazers, and when he did, some Portland fans took to Twitter in an effort to find out more about him, since he was one of the lesser-known prospects to go in the lottery portion of the draft. What they found was this 2012 (2 Chainz-inspired?) tweet:

Zach Collins tweet.
Image via Twitter

They also discovered this extremely awkward Vine of Collins twerking—or at least, what we think was his best attempt at twerking:

Collins deleted both of those tweets as well as a bunch of others that showed him acting a fool when he was, like, 14.

But the most embarrassing tweet of the night definitely belonged to Dennis Smith Jr., who went ninth overall to the Mavericks in the draft. Shortly after he was selected, one of his tweets from back in 2012 went viral, and it took him a long time (too long!) to take it down. It said—*cringe*—this:

Dennis Smith Jr. tweet.
Image via Twitter

The moral of the story here is pretty simple. If you’re going to spend your teenage years tweeting whatever your little heart desires, cool. But make sure you delete everything—and we do mean everything—before you’re on one of the biggest stages in sports. Or else…

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Lonzo Ball Knew He Was Going To Be a Laker and (Maybe) Made NBA Draft History

If he was tipped off, he didn’t say. But if Lonzo Ball truly didn’t have assurance from the Lakers that he was going to be the second pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, he felt it in his bones. Or more accurately his feet.

Because sitting in the green room, off to the right of the podium where commissioner Adam Silver announced all 30 first round selections, Ball decided to switch shoes once the Lakers were on the clock.  

Gone where the black hard bottoms he was sporting earlier. Out came a pair of the infamous Big Baller Brand ZO2s that retail for $495. Only these weren’t all black, like the ones that infamously debuted back in May. This pair was gold and purple—Lakers colors. And before Silver could say Ball’s name, he casually slipped on the sneakers because he just knew suiting up for his hometown team was his destiny.

“Just had a good feeling, and changed them five minutes before when they was on the clock, and I'm glad they called my name,” said Ball, in typically understated fashion.

The NBA’s signature fashion event, where 19-and-20-year-old kids get decked out in suits that would put every prom outside of Beverly Hills to shame, usually does not feature any wardrobe changes, other than the addition of a team hat once Silver calls your name. But Ball just might have authored an NBA first when he switched shoes in the middle of the draft.

Magic Johnson and the Lakers got their point guard of the present and future, one ESPN’s Jay Williams told us Wednesday could be “transcendent.”

Ball told Complex he changed “when [the Lakers] had the pick, right after Markelle” Fultz was chosen first by the Sixers. The Ball family had them hidden “right under the table” and Lonzo “had a feeling” he was about to be next selection. And that’s when he slipped into something way more comfortable and way more marketable than a pair of black dress shoes.

And really, Lonzo rocking a brand new colorway of the ZO2s was arguably one of the more interesting subplots to come out of the NBA Draft that didn't revolve around the Jimmy Butler trade to the Timberwolves or the prospect of Phil Jackson asininely shipping Kristaps Porzingis somewhere. Because the top part of the draft didn’t veer far from most projections. It was short on suspense and very predictable. 

Fultz went to the Sixers. Lonzo to the Lakers. Jayson Tatum to the Celtics at No. 3. Josh Jackson to the Suns at No. 4 and De’Aaron Fox, the guy who was rumored to be ahead of Ball on the Lakers’ draft board about a month ago, went to the Kings at No. 5.

In the end, LaVar Ball, with his swagger on a hundred, thousand, trillion at Barclays Center, could do his damn thing, talk his talk, and most especially walk his signature walk. His son was drafted to the only team he ever wanted him to play for, the team he predicted months ago would wind up with his son. LaVar proved to be a prophet.

Lonzo Ball LaVar Ball Green Room NBA Draft 2017
Image via USA Today Sports/Brad Penner

The man behind Big Baller Brand was surprisingly absent as Lonzo made his way through the arena's bowels, talking to reporters, taking part in NBA sanctioned obligations, and getting hounded by little kids for autographs. Usually, new draftees are paraded all over the arena with their handlers and based on how hands-on LaVar has been, it wasn’t out of the question to expect him to tail his son. But maybe it was by design that he didn’t, or maybe it was just happenstance that papa Ball had to stick around with the rest of his brood and babysit the younger LiAngelo and LaMelo while Lonzo basked in his crowning achievement of his 19 years of existence.

We didn’t really get to witness the bragging and boasting of LaVar afterward, which would have been gold. But he got what he wanted, what he predicted. And we, as NBA fans, got what was basically expected from the darft.

With the rest of the top 10 relatively bereft of drama, Lonzo winding up with the Lakers was arguably the biggest draft-specific story of the night. Lakers exec Magic Johnson got his point guard of the present and future, one ESPN’s Jay Williams told us Wednesday could be “transcendent.” Predictably, Lonzo was about as emotive as a robot, barely smiling or acting like a giddy teenager you’d expect most kids in his position to be.

But at least he was rocking the freshest kicks in the house, the ones nobody else was wearing or could get their hands at the time, the ones that he can most definitely afford now that's he's a Laker. 

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The Craziest NBA Finals Game Ever Just Delayed the Inevitable

CLEVELAND — It started off with a crazy 49-point first quarter from the Cavs, who finished with an even crazier 86 points at halftime. That was topped by the craziest third quarter the NBA Finals has ever seen when a series worth of soap opera like drama was squeezed into 12 minutes. 

Game 4 of the NBA Finals was­ wild, ridiculous, and absurd. We saw Cleveland go bonkers on offense in the first half, the refs call 51 fouls, the seemingly random rescinding of a technical on Draymond Green, and some extracurricular activities from superstars and role players alike that will be dissected for the next two days. When it was all said and done, the Cavs were 137-116 winners and extended the series at least one more game with a physical effort we hadn’t seen through the series' first three contests.  

“We took it to them first and that was very telling for the rest of the game,” Kevin Love said.

So here we are again. The Warriors are up 3-1 and headed back to the West Coast. And while we can draw as many parallels as we want to last year’s historic NBA Finals, the Cavs extending the series only feels like we’re delaying the inevitable this time around.

But before we get to that, Cleveland should be commended for preventing the Warriors from becoming the only team in NBA history to go 16-0 in the postseason. Their chance to do that was pretty much over early Friday as the Cavs blitzed Golden State for an NBA Finals record 49 points in the first quarter and an NBA Playoffs record 86 points after two. And they kept shooting lights out the rest of the way. Cleveland finished shooting 52.9 percent from the field and made an NBA Finals record 24 3-pointers. Through the first three games of the series, Cleveland had only made 31 threes.

Quicken Loans Arena was rocking as the Cavs treated their fans to a rollicking performance led by Kyrie Irving’s 40 points. LeBron James recorded his 9th NBA Finals triple-double, surpassing Magic Johnson for the all-time mark, going for 31, 11, and 10 while Love added 23 and J.R, Smith contributed 15.

“We played a desperate team at home and they came out and handed it to us. Simple as that.”

It was a feel good night for the Cavs and their fans, for sure. The crowd was hyped from the start and the Cavs, who were ripe to be blown out following Game 3’s devastating loss, fed off their energy. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said there was no special pregame speech. He liked his squad’s attitude during the morning’s shootaround. “Guys were upbeat. No hanging heads,” he said. Maybe the Warriors were too caught up in chasing history? 

“I don’t think there was any thoughts or concerns about history,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We played a desperate team at home and they came out and handed it to us. Simple as that.”

This one will be remembered for the truly bizarre third quarter. We had LeBron’s self-pass off the backboard for a dunk that will go down as one of the Finals’ most memorable plays. Later on, the King and Kevin Durant were jawing at each other and drew duel techs. “We weren't coming to blows, we were just talking,” Durant said. A little over a minute after that, Green was tossed for earning a second technical before he wasn’t. The refs ended up giving it to Steve Kerr instead. Finally, we saw Groingate v. 2017 when it looked like Zaza Pachulia took a swipe at Iman Shumpert’s sensitive area during a scrum for a loose ball.

NBA conspiracy theory junkies will have a field day dissecting that and all the fouls called by the refs in Cleveland's favor, especially in the first quarter. With the Finals enjoying some of their highest ratings in years, we all know the league really wants it to extend as long as possible and early on the zebras seemingly did their part. The Cavs went to the free throw line 22 times in the first 12 minutes. Somewhere in the bowels of Quicken Loans Arena, or back in New York—wherever he was—it was like commissioner Adam Silver was pulling all the right strings to at least extend the Finals to five games.

LeBron Draymond KD Zaza NBA Finals Game 4 2017
Image via USA Today Sports/Ken Blaze

But does this really change anything? Has momentum swung back in the Cavs favor? The Cavs deserve credit for not rolling over and letting the Warriors celebrate a title on their floor. They were gritty, gutty, and grimy, playing physical for the first time all series and roughing up the Warriors. But let’s be real here: the Warriors were their own worst enemy in Game 4. Featuring a ton of isolation and practically none of their signature run and gun offense or precision ball movement, the second half saw the Warriors brick a ton threes and settle for low percentage long twos. Golden State finished shooting 28.2 percent from beyond the arc, well below their 39.6 percent average this postseason. Yes, the Cavs are the second best team in the league and getting one of the Warriors shouldn’t come as a surprise. But the Dubs were due for a dud.

“It was one of those nights where we didn’t have anything clicking,” Steph Curry said

The “Cavs in 7’ chant that broke near the end of the game was cute, an ode to the tweet JR Smith claims he didn’t send out following Game 3. But the chances the Cavs faithful see their team play again in person are slim to none. The Warriors were garbage in Game 4, a hot mess on offense, and now they’re headed home where they have lost just once in their last 16 games. They’ve been the superior team three out of four games. They were the superior team during the regular season and during their run to the Finals. They have a potential championship clinching Game 5 Monday in Oracle Arena where they trounced Cleveland in the first two games of the series and once back in January. Draymond won't be suspended for Game 5 like last year. And most importantly they still have more firepower and more superstars than the Cavs, starting with the biggest difference maker, KD.

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Let’s All Acknowledge Game 1’s Real MVP: Rihanna

Let's get the obvious out of the way: there was a basketball game on Thursday night. It was Game 1 of the NBA finals. Some shots were taken, people ran up and down the court and stuff, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-91.

But to many people who watched (and announced, and played in) the game, the real star wasn't LeBron or Steph Curry, but rather Rihanna. The pop star was in the audience for Game 1, and was not shy about letting it be known who she was rooting for—and against.

From courtside, she apparently heckled KD during a free throw.

And Durant definitely noticed.

He later denied that he was looking at her specifically, but come on.

Jeff Van Gundy, who was calling the game, acted exactly like any of us would, national TV audience or no, when RiRi walked by.

And then there was the bow. In one incredible sequence, Rihanna bows to LeBron, dabs, and then gives attitude to someone nearby who dared to try and get her to sit down.

As she left, the NBA's new favorite was escorted out by the NBA's new favorite commissioner.

And the best was still to come. Immediately post-game, a fan luxuriated in the Warriors' victory. Rihanna's LeBron-inspired response? “It doesn't matter, bitch. The King is still in the house.”

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Adam Silver Suggests NBA Might Add 4-Point Shot, 10-Point Shot to NBA All-Star Game

Despite a series of highlight-reel dunks and the usual parade of stars on hand, the 2017 NBA All-Star Game fell flat for a lot of basketball fans. Taking a few plays off is one thing, but fans increasingly feel the league's mid-season event lacks an element of competitiveness to make it compelling.

In lieu of blaming millennials for this problem, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is in search of a solution to restore the former glory of the All-Star Game. Speaking at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston on Saturday, Silver told the crowd that Chris Paul reached out on behalf of the player's union to start a dialogue on the matter. Per Five Thirty Eight's Chris Herring:

This is an encouraging sign. The league can do a lot of things, but it can't force buy-in from players who are mostly trying to get through the event unscathed. They need to rest up for playoff runs and pushes, so defense is firmly optional at All-Star weekend.

But just when you thought things were headed in the right direction, Silver dropped quite a bomb on the Sloan audience:

It's hard to understand the logic here. The NBA supposedly wants their players to take the game more seriously, but one of the public suggestions for change from the league's own commissioner is to fundamentally change the game? It's a ludicrous idea and doesn't do much to serve their stated goal of making it competitive.

Players are already speaking out against the premise. Warriors superstar Steph Curry spoke to ESPN's Chris Haynes after Silver teased the idea on Saturday, and he flat-out said a 10-point shot from half-court, “would make it worse.” 

A few of Curry's teammates and fellow All-Stars agreed with their leader. Draymond Green offered a simple solution: “Raise the money,” he said. “I'm serious. That's how you're going to make it more competitive.”

Klay Thompson concurred with Green on the importance of upping the stakes, and made clear the reason many players are tentative to exert maximum effort. “Fear of being injured is a factor. You don’t want to get injured in a game that really has no implications,” he said.

If the league wants to add some more financial incentive for the winning team, or do almost anything to change the motivational factors, those are real discussions to be had. Participants in the game, including probable flat-Earth truther Kyrie Irving, have already expressed a desire to ramp up the defense in future contests. The NBA doesn't need to reinvent the wheel to get things pointed in the right direction.

Silver should certainly take advice from All-Stars who are interested in a more competitive game. But someone please tell him to start ignoring whoever had the 10-point shot idea.

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.

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U.S. Soccer Creates Rule Mandating Players Stand for National Anthem

Colin Kaepernick became the center of controversy for his national anthem protest last season, but he was far from the only athlete leveraging pre-game festivities to protest. United States Women's National Team player Megan Rapinoe was one of many athletes to join Kaepernick last fall, causing controversy by eschewing the tradition of standing while the Star-Spangled Banner plays.

The U.S. Soccer Federation took a controversial step to combat this form of protest on Saturday. Former U.S. National Team player Stuart Holden, currently an analyst for Fox Soccer, shared this photo of a new policy added to the federation's by-laws:

This legislation bans the form of protest used by Rapinoe and Kaepernick in any game involving U.S. Soccer. Holden shared additional information as soccer fans questioned the details of the new rule, and revealed that it effectively affords the federation unlimited power to reprimand players should they break the rule.

Things appeared to be heading in this direction for a while. After the initial protest by Rapinoe in September, the U.S. Soccer Federation released a statement expressing their desire to have players stand for the anthem.

“Representing your country is a privilege and honor for any player or coach that is associated with U.S. Soccer's National Teams. Therefore, our national anthem has particular significance for U.S. Soccer,” the USSF said in their September statement. “As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.”

Commissioners for America's major sports leagues have expressed similar thoughts, though they've differentiated themselves by voicing sympathy for an athlete's right to protest. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell played both sides of the fence when he discussed Kaepernick last September, saying the league believed “very strongly in patriotism” while acknowledging “we don't live in a perfect society.”

NBA boss Adam Silver took a similar approach before the 2016-17 season began. Discussing the matter at the annual board of governors meeting in New York, Silver told reporters, “It would be my hope that they continue to stand for the national anthem.” Silver highlighted the league's preference to take meaningful action — such as when they removed the All-Star Game from North Carolina — when faced with social issues and opportunities to make an impact.

U.S. Soccer's decision to pander exclusively to one view was not received well, and dissenters took to Twitter to express their frustration with the new rule.

Regardless of how you feel about people protesting during the national anthem, mandating what people have to do during a song meant to celebrate American freedom is pretty absurd. America is supposed to stand for the ability to do and say what you want while others do the same, and restricting that for people quite literally representing the country sends a confusing message.

This probably won't be the last you'll hear on anthem protests, even if Kaepernick himself claims he'll stand during the anthem from now on. If nothing else, this proves using the anthem as a means of protest will keep the story in the public consciousness. 

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.

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