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10 Sports Figures You Should Be Following On Twitter
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 09: Former NBA basketball player Shaquille O'Neal poses with Reebok sneakers at the Reebok Classic Breakout at Philadelphia University on July 9, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Reebok)
Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Reebok

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what a cesspit Twitter has become. What was once a promising platform for the immediate dissemination of information has devolved into the preferred hangout for bullies, bots, trolls and mean girls. And if you’re conservative? Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has higher regard for the debris in his quarantine beard than he does for you. Instead of offering a free and open forum for varying opinions, he’s more than happy to de-platform or shadow ban those with whom he and his henchmen disagree. 

Twitter is still where news breaks — but it’s usually broken beyond recognition, irretrievably tainted by the bias of the messenger. Sports Twitter is no different. It’s where you’ll find the pro-China, anti-Trump musings of LeBron James, or the anti-cop, pro-cop killer ruminations of Colin Kaepernick — not to mention the historically illiterate reflections of sportswriters for whom leftism is truth and history began yesterday.

All that said, I haven’t given up on Twitter quite yet. There are pockets of sanity, decency, cleverness and common sense that are worth seeking out. There are still those using it for good rather than evil. 

So, now that I’ve thoroughly denounced and discredited the forum, let me present 10 sports figures who are worth following on the world’s worst social media platform (except for all the others). 

Jay Bilas (@JayBilas)

Yes, he’s opinionated, but college basketball’s most intelligent analyst backs up his opinions in a reasoned, coherent fashion — not much flamethrowing, but a lot of common sense. Gets extra points for his frequent beclowning of the NCAA. His signature “I gotta go to work” tweets showcasing rapper and urban philosopher Young Jeezy are a morning source of inspiration. 

David Feherty (@Fehertwit)

Golf’s wittiest analyst has provided much of the soundtrack to the Tiger Woods era. His compelling personal story — he’s overcome addiction and mental illness — adds to his Twitter appeal. He’s also a tireless supporter of the troops defending his adopted home country. 

Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit)

College football’s top analyst was basically run out of Columbus for not being an Ohio State homer, while simultaneously being accused of Buckeye homerism by OSU haters. A tough spot to be in, but one that Herbie has handled with aplomb by deftly refuting both sides. Plus, the guy just knows and loves college football.  

Chad Johnson (@ochocinco)

His career as a social media influencer may have eclipsed his former career as a highly productive, if eccentric, wide receiver. That eccentricity only adds to his Twitter appeal, and he knows it. The erstwhile Chad Ochocinco may be the funniest athlete on Twitter.

Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin)

The well-traveled, oft-reviled college football coach has used humor to ingratiate himself with college football fans, who are now more apt to forgive his professional and personal shortcomings thanks to his amusing Twitter presence, which proves that he’s in on the joke. Example: Fined $25,000 for criticizing the refs, Kiffin took to Twitter to try to figure out how many pennies it would take to pay the fine.

Phil Mickelson (@PhilMIckelson)

Lefty has the hang of this Twitter thing, using his 280 characters for humorous self-deprecation and witty observations. His posts far outshine the sanitized, sterile, corporate output of his rival, Tiger Woods.

Shaquille O’Neal (@SHAQ)

Folk hero, pitchman nonpareil, and, as he puts it in his Twitter tagline, very quotatious. Shaq uses the platform to promote causes he supports and companies he does business with, but he does it with a light touch that belies his Paul Bunyan frame. 

Tim Tebow (@TimTebow)

Decency hasn’t been entirely eradicated from Twitter. Exhibit A is Tim Tebow, who might just be the most encouraging presence on the internet. Just don’t dig through his mentions and replies, where the haters reveal themselves. 

Clay Travis (@ClayTravis)

Whoever thought that a lawyer who voted twice for Obama could become the face of the counterculture center/right? With his partner Jason Whitlock, the “Outkick the Coverage” founder is a lonely but essential voice of reason in the monolithically leftist world of sports journalism. Travis’ stubborn pushback against the COVID fearmongers, whom he has dubbed “coronabros”, earns him extra points.

Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco)

There’s a place for the insane in this world, and it’s on Twitter. Canseco is the entertaining kind of insane, covering topics ranging from vampirism to Bigfoot to aliens to steroids in sports. He’s a leftist of sorts, but he has enough disdain for both sides that we’ll allow it. 

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