Charlotte Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky used to be big on Twitter. It fit his eclectic personality and acerbic sense of humor.
Then, recently, Kaminsky cut the cord on the popular social-media app.
“Twitter had gotten to be one of the most annoying things in my life, so I just deleted it,” Kaminsky said Wednesday morning.
He said that decision was not specific to criticism from Hornets fans, but every professional athlete has to figure how to deal with the grief that comes with these high-profile jobs. Fans griping about a team’s poor performance far predates Twitter or Facebook, but the level of vitriol seems raised in these social-media times.
Veteran forward Marvin Williams is one of the few Hornets players who has never joined Twitter. He says participating on that platform just isn’t appealing.
Roughly five years ago, Hornets guard Nic Batum made a conscious decision to tune out fans’ reviews of his performance. Batum respects fans’ right to vent frustration, but he sees nothing constructive in monitoring that negativity.
“I’m the first one to be mad (about poor performances), trust me. But I don’t really care what people say,” Batum said at practice Tuesday. “You know you’re going to get criticized every day. It’s going to be right there. So I don’t really care about that, anyway.”
NBA players and coaches have lives and careers most anyone would envy: Lucrative salaries, charter-flight travel, and five-star hotels. Getting ripped by fans just comes with the deal, according to Hornets coach Steve Clifford.
When Clifford first decided to make coaching his profession, his father, an accomplished high-school coach in New England, explained the reality of public scrutiny, even at the preps level.
“He said to me, ‘If you need every day for people to tell you you’re doing a good job, or you need affirmation, don’t coach,’” Clifford recalled.
“With your job, there’s probably 90 percent you enjoy, and 10 percent you don’t like. To me, that’s just the way the world works. Look at my job: chartered planes, coaching great players, you’re in these arenas, a great office. So with talk radio and media, people are going to second-guess you. If that’s the worst thing that happens to you every day? Come on.
“You can either be petty about it and say, ‘How is Pete from Raleigh questioning my coaching ability?’ Or you can say that’s part of being a coach in the NBA.”
That “Let it roll off your back” approach is to some extent how every player or coach processes a disappointing season, like the Hornets (18-25) have had so far.
But it’s also understandable how Kaminsky feels regarding some caustic fans.
“Here’s my thing: You can tell who the real fans are, who show up to games. Those are the people who support you no matter what, through the highs and the lows. Good times, bad times,” Kaminsky said.
“And then there are those, I want to say ‘Not-so-into-it’ fans who think they know everything, who think they are like the (general manager) of the team and they should make all the decisions. They’re the ones who show up to the games and boo, think they have a better idea how things are done. Those people are never good for an organization.
“Nic said it (well): You’ve just got to tune out the bad, and focus on all the positive fans and all the good things they say about you. All the people who root for you, those are the people you play for.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell