There were many reactions to the news that the Boston Celtics were hiring Ime Udoka, currently a Brooklyn Nets assistant, as their next head coach. The most curious came from the Twitter account of Jay Williams.
The former Duke basketball star and current ESPN analyst appeared to react to Udoka's hire on Wednesday with praise for the man's talent and resume. Udoka has been an NBA assistant since 2012, working for the Nets as well as the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers.
However, the tweet in question led with a rather curious claim, that Udoka is the first head coach of color in Celtics history. The tweet was quickly deleted.
:::stares in Bill Russell, KC Jones, and Doc Rivers::: pic.twitter.com/8gBtzeUM2Y
— Jay Scott Smith (@JayScottSmith) June 24, 2021
Now, as well-meaning as that tweet appears to be, it is also wrong. Extraordinarily wrong.
Udoka is in fact not the first head coach of color in Celtics history. Or the second. Or the third. He is the sixth, behind Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Tom Sanders, M.L. Carr and Doc Rivers. The Celtics were actually the first team in NBA history to have a Black head coach via Russell.
The tweet was so wrong that even LeBron James had to weigh in, theorizing that the screencaps have to be photoshopped:
Has to be right!?!? It better be 🤔🤣🤣
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 23, 2021
Unfortunately for Williams, the tweet was apparently quite real, and the reaction on Twitter was about what you would imagine. Hours later, he confirmed that the Celtics tweet came from his account, but then used a well-known defense by claiming he had been hacked.
As it relates to the Boston Celtics tweet that came from my account a couple of hours ago… I did not post that & my passcode has now been changed.
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) June 23, 2021
There's obviously no way to confirm whether or not Williams is lying for what would be an embarrassing mistake, but let's just maintain some perspective here.
We've all seen what Twitter hacks look like, and they usually contain some combination of foul language, random product pushing, questionable direct messages and absolute gibberish. In this case, we're talking about a tweet that went to great lengths to not just push forward a clearly wrong bit of analysis, but even managed to mimic Williams' Twitter cadence (the man is a fan of ellipses and emojis).
If we're looking at the work of a hacker, we are not looking at the work of a normal hacker. It would have to be a person committed to degrading Williams and/or ESPN in every phase of the operation and having the talent and subtlety to do it. After all, what's a more nefarious hacker than the one people won't even believe intervened in the first place?
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