Past The Press Box

While low, LeBron sets social media standard for transcendent athletes

If this entire LeBron free agent extravaganza has shown us anything, it's that he owns us all. As annoyed as almost all sports fans, writers and casual observers have become, he still holds the collective attention spans of each group. He's bigger than any other American athlete and it isn't even close. Now he's on Twitter.

Of course, it isn't a big step for him. Chris Paul buddied up with LBJ, told him Twitter was neat and something fun to mess around on so his camp either acquired the KingJames name or put it to use after acquiring it some time ago. So here we are, three tweets and a few hundred thousand followers later.

A new precedent is set.

LeBron James is coming into the prime of his career and these few days will play a large role in deciding how that will go. LeBron has decided to make social media—if not a large part of it— at least a worthy venture.

So why is this a big deal?

In terms of social media and American sports, we've never seen anything like it. Never has an athlete so big jumped on social media. Again, what LeBron is putting out there (3 tweets thus far) obviously isn't very insightful, he isn't 'harnessing the power of social media' (ugh) and there's no saying how much he'll use this going forward. After all, his buddy Jay-Z has been on Twitter for awhile and no one's really noticed.

However, a standard has been set. No matter how big an athlete, the precedent is that you should be on Twitter. I don't know if we'll ever see an athlete with as much hype and hoopla surrounding him as LeBron (hope not) but if we do, and social media is still a part of our daily lives, that athlete will have to partake. While athletes like Kobe and Tiger cruised through athletic and marketing primes prior to the age of social media, all future athletes who rise to this level of success will use social media.

In actuality, this may be the last time we see an athlete of LeBron's status get to where he is without using social media previously. It's a tipping point, using social media is no longer in question. Look at the NBA's next crop of transcendent stars: Kevin Durant, John Wall, etc. All on Twitter.

It didn't take much, but it's a turning point. No matter how transcendent, talented or marketable the athlete, they will use social media.

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The American Sportswriter_