Usually, the social media network only reveals what Chad Johnson had for lunch, how many tummy crunches Brooke Burke Charvet did this morning or that Ashton Kutcher is still a dope. Occasionally — such as when Mike Wallace's death prompted dismay from Pittsburgh Steelers fans mistaking the television journalist for their wide receiver of the same name — tweets reveal that fans aren't always so sharp, either.
So when Ray Allen held up his No. 34 Miami Heat jersey at a news conference Wednesday announcing his new contract with the team, it probably should not have been surprising that my Twitter stream turned into a playground for people who must not have been born before 2007.
In the interest of protecting the innocent, the tweets and their users will not be mentioned here. But many a 140-character remark noted how "weird" it would be to see Allen wearing a Heat jersey and digits other than trusty No. 20.
Right there was evidence that, sometimes, we forget there is life for athletes before they come to Boston. Allen played 11 successful seasons in the NBA and three before that at UConn — rocking tres cuatro, as Johnson might (incorrectly) say — and he was traded twice. This was not Paul Pierce shedding his No. 34 Celtics jersey, the only one he has ever worn, in favor of Brooklyn black and white. The weirdness of Allen wearing black and red should wear off, just as the weirdness of him wearing kelly green quickly wore off, if there ever was any weirdness at all.
I guess this explains why many Celtics fans will see Allen as a traitor and boo him earnestly when he comes to the TD Garden next season. In those fans' minds, Allen belonged to them, despite the fact that if the Basketball Hall of Fame enshrined players in team shorts and tank tops the same way Cooperstown uses team caps, Allen would probably go to Springfield as a Seattle SuperSonic.
The Celtics had discussions about trading Allen in the middle of last season, yet nobody booed Wyc Grousbeck or Danny Ainge afterward — nor should they have. Trading Allen would have been just business, the same as Allen signing with the Heat was just business. Yet it is interesting that so many of the folks insisting Allen should not have taken the trade talk personally have taken Allen's decision to leave Boston personally. It is Allen's money. It is Allen's life. It is Allen's family's life. It was his decision, not ours.
In the Twitter world, though, Allen is "Judas." He took his 30 pieces of silver from Pat Riley and took his talents to South Beach. Indignation ensues, at least until it becomes old news an hour later and tweeters move on to the latest thing that annoys them at the moment.
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