Social media can be a fantastic asset for NBA players. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be used to interact with fans, promote endorsements, or give unique insight into their personal lives. We know so much more about players and their personalities thanks to what they tweet, snap, and post. It's something that even a few years ago wasn't a possibility and as a result has created one more thing for players to consider when building there brand or for teams to monitor. But despite these advantages there is a risk involved with having a presence on social media: hacking.
Like any other celebrities, NBA players can become targets for hackers looking to do anything from promoting themselves, selling personal information, or simply embarrassing the victim. And as some of the most active athletes on social media, it's not surprising that NBA players are the one's who most often find themselves in the middle of hacking scandals. Some are amusing, like when a private photo becomes public, some are disturbing, like when personal information compromised, but all of them prove just how easy it is for an athlete to be caught up in controversy. When these incidents occur, players and their agents have developed a fairly predictable process of deleting what was posted, denying any involvement, and blaming it on hacking. It's then up to the court of public opinion to decide whether to believe the player was hacked or if they simply made a stupid mistake online. Here are 15 times an NBA player claimed he was hacked.
15 D'Angelo Russell
The D'Angelo Russell/Nick Young/Iggy Azalea saga was well documented when it came to light in 2016 that Russell recorded an unknowing Young admitting to cheating on then girlfriend Azalea. It was the kind of drama that caught the attention of both basketball fans and those who read celebrity gossip sites.
Young claimed that the video was simply a prank gone wrong and was never intended to be released. The Laker point guard claimed that he was the victim of hacking, which is why the video appeared on Twitter and started the whole controversy. As a result, Russell struggled to maintain the trust of teammates and what was already a downward spiraling Lakers season only got worse.
14 Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant has done a great job of keeping his image clean and steering clear of any controversy since he entered the NBA. Other than his decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors, his name has virtually never been mentioned in a negative way.
He finally had a brush with controversy in 2014 when the above picture was tweeted out via Durant's account. At first glance, the image looks pretty shocking considering KD's image and the fact it was posted in the middle of the NBA season. But further examination of the photo indicates that Durant is merely using a hookah. Still, the image was out of the ordinary and fans quickly got on to speculating and passing the image around. Durant deleted the tweet as soon as he could and tweeted that his phone was hacked and the picture was not published by him.
13 Ty Lawson
Ty Lawson's experience with hackers is more disturbing than anything. Rather than releasing private photos or using an account to make some outrageous statements, Lawson has claimed that hackers have held his personal information for ransom. That is a whole other level of danger than what else we'll see on this list.
In 2016 Lawson reported that a hacker had accessed his computer, stole information, and was then extorting the Sacrament Kings' guard for a large sum of money. Statements from Lawson's lawyer suggested that the information stolen was of a very personal nature and the hackers were attempting to sell his client's information to various media companies. Compared to Lawson, it will look like a lot of the players on this list got off easy.
12 Von Wafer
Von Wafer may be one of the earliest examples of an NBA player having a social media account hacked when he became a victim in 2011. After having a 200 game NBA career, Wafer was playing in Italy when his account tweeted that he was coming out of the closet and announcing he was gay. The tweet was quickly shared around and spread across the internet all while an unaware Wafer was travelling back the U.S.
When he returned home and saw his name blowing up, Wafer released a statement indicating his account was hacked and he was in fact not gay. When a professional player comes out of the closet it's typically seen as an act of courage and one has to wonder what kind of a person would hack someone's account to tweet this out.
11 Ray Allen
Ray Allen was in the news lately after some of his former Boston Celtic teammates, including Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo, appeared on TV and let their true feelings be known regarding Allen defecting to the Miami Heat in 2012.
The former Celtics suggested it was the way in which Allen left for the rival Heat without discussing things with the team that left a sour taste in their mouths. The story was taken up a notch when a few hours after the show aired, Ray Allen's Facebook page posted an image of him squaring off with Rajon Rondo. Many people picked up on the post and considered it Allen's response to the criticism. However, Allen and his representatives suggested that his page was compromised long ago by hackers and was no longer his official page.
10 Andray Blatche
Twitter is a fantastic way for NBA players to interact with fans and bring the two sides even closer off the court. The downside of that direct connection from fans to players may have been exemplified best in 2011 when he began tweeting out threats to fans. As you can read in the tweet above, the then-Washington Wizard was apparently fed up with hearing criticism online and offered to meet anyone who was willing after the game for some fisticuffs.
Obviously these tweets brought a lot of attention and Blatche quickly tried to defuse the situation by claiming his account was hacked. His defense was that he rarely used Twitter so it was strange that his account would fire off over 30 tweets in one night, culminating with the brawl invitation. The hacked excuse worked from Blatche and he avoided any punishment from the Wizards.
9 Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce makes this list for something that ultimately, he shouldn't have blamed on hacking. Whereas other NBA players on this list had to deal with private pictures or personal details being exposed, Pierce simply had some trash talk posted to his Twitter.
During a 2010 playoff series against the Orlando Magic, Pierce's Twitter account fired off a series of tweets that ended with "Anybody got a BROOM?" as the Celtics were on the verge of a sweep. The tweet got the attention of many in Orlando and even earned a response from Dwight Howard. However, Pierce deleted the tweets and claimed that his account was hacked and that the trash-talking tweets did not come from him. Since Pierce was never shy about his confidence as a player, it seems odd that he was so quick to distance himself from these tweets.
8 Jordan Clarkson
Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers had to deal with a string of hacking incidents in 2016. It seemed as though a single individual repeatedly accessed Clarkson's Twitter account and used to take shots at Clarkson's teammates, the Lakers, and even the Kardashians. Other tweets also had some choice words for Laker legend Kobe Bryant.
The hacker would go on to use Clarkson's Twitter to advertise his own social media accounts before finally signing off. Clarkson acknowledged he was a victim of the hacks and hopefully has wised up enough to change his password.
Clarkson acknowledged being hacked with a simple Twitter post telling his followers: "well got hacked this morning for the first time thanks for waking me up."
7 Jeff Withey
Jeff Withey plays a minor role off the bench for the Utah Jazz but his personal life became a major issue in 2016 when his girlfriend hacked the center's Instagram account. Withey was accused of cheating by his girlfriend Kennedy Summers, the 2014 Playboy Playmate of the Year.
As the Instagram post authored by Summers explains, Withey claimed he was going to the movies alone but clearly purchased two tickets. On her Twitter account Summers alluded to Withey meeting girls on Tinder while they were dating. Withey tried to maintain his innocence by claiming he was given the wrong receipt for his single movie ticket. Hacked Instagram accounts, Playboy Playmates, Tinder hookups. What more could you want in an NBA player's scandal??
6 Jae Crowder
Jae Crowder has seen his profile raised since being traded to the Boston Celtics. With that newfound attention comes even more coverage when something from the player's personal life gets brought to light. For Crowder this happened in 2015 on his Instagram account.
In what ultimately led to Crowder deleting his entire account, his girlfriend took control of his account to post a picture of Crowder's alleged mistress. In the caption, the woman was accused of being a drug dealer and trying to use Crowder's status in the NBA to climb the social ladder. All in all it was an ugly situation in which a player's dirty laundry was aired without him knowing. Crowder would probably advise other NBA players to keep their social media passwords away from anyone, including girlfriends.
5 Jimmer Fredette
Similar to Von Waffer, Jimmer Fredette was the victim of a hack that seemed to only have the goal of spreading gay rumors. The former college star and brief NBA player had to deal with the hacking incident while playing in China for the Shanghai Sharks.
Per usual with these types of incidents, the tweets were deleted and Fredette released a statement acknowledging he hack and denying any intent to quit basketball. What makes the hack bizarre is the fact that Fredette was even targeted. The only possible explanation is a fan with a grudge against Jimmer for his time at BYU. It really is sad that hackers would resort to hacking an account to spread fake gay rumors about a player.
4 Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis is the latest NBA player to find himself surrounded by controversy over a tweet. Porzingis fueled rumors that he was on the way out of New York when he sent a tweet that simply read "LA Clippers" followed by three smiling emojis. The tweet came on the heels of a difficult stretch between Porizingis and the Knicks in which the player skipped out on meetings with team president Phil Jackson and reports surfaced that several teams contacted the Knicks about a potential trade.
For his part, Porzingis stated that his account was hacked and that Twitter was looking into the situation. He took things even further by tweeting out a screencap of his recently and frequently used emojis, noting that the ones in the Clipper tweet are not among his favorite.
3 Carmelo Anthony
We saw earlier in the list that it is never a good look for a player to use social media to threaten fans. Carmelo Anthony appeared to bring that to another level in 2010 when he put a $5,000 bounty on the head of model Kat Stacks. Stacks had been going back and forth with Anthony's wife, LaLa, at the time which may have prompted the outburst from Melo.
The tweet and a follow up in which Anthony asked for video recording of any assault on Stacks were both deleted. Carmelo released a statement indicating that someone had hacked his phone and sent out the tweet. When you look at the facts and the drama between all three involved, it's hard to take his word.
2 Ray Allen (Again)
Ray Allen appears on this list for the second time for a far more scandalous incident than his Facebook post. This time it was Allen's Twitter account that was allegedly hacked in 2009. A post from Allen's since-abandoned handle included some adult language that seemed to instructions of some sort. The language is a little to NSFW to be posted here, but suffice to say whoever Ray's intended audience was certainly had the sharpshooter in some kind of mood.
Of course Allen claimed that is account was hacked and he had no involvement in sending out the tweet. The fact that he deleted the account and moved to a new handle suggests that Ray wanted to distance himself as much as he could but it may not have been enough to convince the public of the "hacked" excuse.
1 Draymond Green
Let's be honest, Draymond Green has earned himself a bit of a reputation when it comes to private parts. This has been due in part to "accidentally" kicking opponents below the belt on at least two different occasions.
But in 2016 Green added to that in a different way when a rather explicit "selfie" of the Golden State Warrior was sent out on his Snapchat. When the image was sent out while Green was with the U.S. Olympic Team, his first response was that his account was hacked. Few believed Green when he played the victim card and he eventually admitted that he was not hacked. His explanation was that he "hit the wrong button" and what was intended to be a private image became very, very public.