Social media, fondly branded the poor man's therapy session, offers the perfect medium to vent one’s personal frustrations, usually matched with the much needed empathy and support of complete strangers. However, in recent days, it's extended its reach to a not-so-poor man in Kobe Bryant. Following a season ending surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered during the final minutes of a must-win game against the Golden State Warriors, Bryant immediately turned to Facebook to air his frustrations, disappointment, despair, and palpable anger toward the worst injury of his career. While the Lakers continued their playoff chase, eventually securing a seventh seed in the Western conference, Bryant allowed the world an uncharacteristic bird's eye view into his life, his recovery, and the hilarity spawned from the boredom of a brilliant NBA superstar.
Using Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, Bryant delivers a daily dose of Mamba wit. From a revamping of his #countonkobe hash tag to make light of post-surgery struggles, “#sexynurse shower prepping the leg for me. Can’t get stitches wet but still gotta wash my ass #countonsoap,” to describing his hospital look as “Mrs. Doubtfire with a jheri curl cap.” Bryant’s humor lifts the spirits of fans who do not wish to fathom the game sans Kobe Bryant.
Perhaps the most entertaining social media exhibition came Sunday afternoon, during Game 1 of the 7-game series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs. Self-proclaimed Coach Vino took to Twitter, interacting with fans and NBA greats alike (i.e. Phil Jackson) to analyze the Lakers effort on both sides of the ball. “Post. Post. Post. What would I say if I was there right now? Pau get [yo]ur ass on the block and don’t move ‘til [yo]u get it #realtalk.” Second-by-second breakdown of each play, Bryant even using halftime to squeeze in a direct text to Lakers' starting forward, Pau Gasol. Giving cyber bullying a whole new meaning, one could only imagine the only thing worse than hearing, "Put on your big boy pants." is reading, "Put on your big boy pants." Nonetheless, the Twitter community was happy to be along for the ride, and Bryant's timeline received more coverage than the game being discussed.
Amid backlash for being a team distraction, Bryant has since sworn off social media at game time. While he redirects his energy on hope for a Lakers win, social media addicts everywhere are praying this isn't the last we've seen of Coach Vino.
Game 2 of the Lakers-Spurs first round series is tonight, 9:30 pm ET on TNT