Twizards Mostly Okay With New NBA Rule

RICHMOND -- A few hours before practice on Thursday, Mike James sent a message to his fans via Twitter in which he said, among other things, "mystrenghtisfromGOD."

James is one of four members of the Washington Wizards on the social networking site, Twitter, and has provided a few updates since the team convened in Richmond, including a Tweet after the first practice that read, "The dogs r barking. I need a massage and pedicure."

And he has no problems with the NBA's new policy regarding social media sites released this week. The league prohibited coaches and other basketball operations personnel from using cell phones and other electronic communication devices during games. It sent a memo to teams that disallows using such sites as Twitter and Facebook, beginning 45 minutes before the opening tip and ending after the locker room is open to reporters. Halftime is also off-limits.

"It doesn't affect me," said James, who has 2,673 followers and uses the screen name mikejames7. "I Twitter at home. I don't Twitter at practice. I don't Twitter during halftime. I'm not Twittering on the bus. This is our profession and the NBA is basically saying, 'Let's keep it professional.' "

Twitter is very popular among many NBA players, including Cleveland Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal, who has more than 2.3 million followers. The NBA itself even has 1.4 million followers on Twitter.

But the new policy is largely in response to Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva, who last season as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks caused a commotion when he Tweeted from his cellphone during halftime of a win against the Boston Celtics last March. Villanueva claimed that the guidelines were the "Villanueva Rule" on his personal account this week.

Fabricio Oberto (Obricio7) is the Wizards' most prolific Tweeter, with 1,858 tweets, but he said that he has been less frequent since training camp began. "I'm a little tired, so I don't Tweet so much," said Oberto, who agrees with the new rules. "You got to respect the team that you're playing."

Randy Foye (randyfoye), who has the most followers on the team with 8,783, said he uses Twitter mostly as a means to promote his foundation for underprivileged children in his hometown of Newark, N.J. He also fully supports the new rule.

"You shouldn't use it if you're getting ready for a game," Foye said. "You should be completely focused on getting ready to go out there and play the game."

JaVale McGee is the Wizards' youngest and most tech-savvy player. When asked about the new iPod Touches that Coach Flip Saunders gave the players before training camp, McGee joked that he now owns four iPods. He took issue with prohibiting the use of cellphones before the game.

"I don't think that's a good idea -- 45 minutes before the game," said McGee, who had made 1,460 Tweets using the screen name, bigdaddywookie. "I respect during. You shouldn't be Twittering during the game. But you should be able to Twitter before and after."

James said anyone who has a problem with the league's new policy should just make the adjustment. "Just go home and Twitter," he said. "Everything that you can say at halftime, just hold it in your mind. Maybe write it down on a piece of paper or something. It's still the same thing. You don't Twit two hours earlier, you just Twit two hours later. It's not a problem. Don't worry, you'll still have your fans there. They are still going to open it up and read it later. Just don't get yourself in trouble."

McGee admitted he hasn't fully studied the new guidelines, but added, "I got to read that thing. I might get fined."

By Michael Lee |  October 2, 2009; 11:20 AM ET
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Comments

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Have you heard about the new website, Woofer? Minimum post: 1,200 words.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 2, 2009 11:46 AM

Mike,

I think the rule was put into place because of he NBA referee Tim Donaghy scandal.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | October 2, 2009 11:53 AM

Mike James should stop using twitter for several reasons.

1. He is too old to be using twitter.
2. He sucks and should be focusing on becoming at least a mediocre nba player.
3. He is lame and his tweets are just web pollution.

Posted by: ParkerLewis | October 2, 2009 12:47 PM

Funny Parker Lewis. you must be super old since that show went off the air what? Like 25 years ago?

Or is that your real name?

I think Mike James is a good guy to keep around. You never know who is going to get injured or when a flu bug might hit the team or whatever and while I wouldn't want himas my starting 2, he has good vet experience and can play within a good team very well.

Plus, he should have great trade value at the deadline.

Posted by: Blurred | October 2, 2009 12:57 PM

They're clearly grooming James as a trade chip. I wouldn't be surprised to see Critt's butt glued to the bench until they unload James at deadline, which would then move Critt into 3rd PG spot.

Posted by: Prazak | October 2, 2009 1:22 PM

@blurred

The only person that's super old is Mike James. I'm sure he used to record episodes on his VCR. Regarding his trade value, yeah he is so good that he was traded 9 times. He goes to a team for a season or two then gets shipped somewhere else b/c his impact is minimal to non-existent. We need to get someone young w/ potential not old and fading.

Posted by: ParkerLewis | October 2, 2009 2:10 PM

"We need to get someone young w/ potential not old and fading."

Actually, the Wizards don't need either of those things. If they do make a trade it'll be for someone who can produce right now, not in a few years, maybe. They've already got enough of that.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 2, 2009 3:22 PM

"A few hours before practice on Thursday, Mike James sent a message to his fans via Twitter "

Mike James has fans?

Posted by: dominic10464 | October 2, 2009 3:23 PM


Mike James may be old by NBA standards, but that is depressing, since I am 6 years older than him. I guess I missed my chance at a ring.

I went on and looked up JaVale's tweets. mostly ragging with his friends about how ugly their gfs were as best as I could tell. then again, the odds of me understanding a 20 yo's dialectic misused slang are pretty slim.

Also remember, if James was traded 9 times, that also meant that someone was on the receiving end of that trade and thought he had value.

Trust me, no one is saying they want him starting or even playing significant minutes, but having him pop a couple 3s every now and then isn't the worst thing on earth. He has always had a pretty decent handle, if I recall correctly, so at least you get a decent quality practice partner out there as well.

Anyway, I just think he has a decent amount of value on the roster right now, just not on the floor. Keep him around, because at this point, your not likely to get anything better, but in Jan/Feb or whenever trade deadline is, someone may think they are one ball handling 3 pt shooter away from making the playoofs and may trade him for one of their 6 big men. or is Wes the only guy that makes those trades?

Posted by: Blurred | October 2, 2009 3:32 PM

kalo_rama,

I'm talking about someone like Ramon Sessions, who is young, inexpensive, has a little experience and has a much bigger upside. Unlike James, who has consistently proven that he is a C (sometimes D) class baller and always will be.

Blurred, James has only had one good season in the NBA. So I don't think any of the other 8 teams would say it worked out. Also, having a player on the roster that shouldn't spend time "on the floor" is a waste of roster and cap space. I wish we could bring Roger Mason back.

Posted by: ParkerLewis | October 2, 2009 4:14 PM

I think this is a great rule. Too many athletes in other sports have been making negative headlines via twitter, so the NBA is smart to keep it's players from tweeting something without thinking, or while still emotional from game situations. This way, the players will have time to compose themselves, minimizing the likelihood of something stupid getting published for the entire world to see.

Posted by: ListenToLeon | October 2, 2009 4:16 PM

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