A High School Rex Chapman Story

A long time ago, before Rex Chapman was a Twitter star, he was a basketball player. He played for Charlotte, Washington, Miami and Phoenix. After he retired he was a scout and then Director of Basketball Operations for Phoenix. He was also the vice president of player personnel with the Denver Nuggets. He was basketball famous long before he was Twitter famous. Long before all of that, Rex was a high school basketball player in Owensboro, Kentucky. Owensboro is about 30 miles north of Beaver Dam, Kentucky, my hometown.

Rex was a basketball phenom when he was in high school. He was recruited by the major college basketball programs and signed with the University of Kentucky. Signing with UK made him an even bigger deal in the state of Kentucky. My high school did not have that star power on our boy’s basketball team. We had sparse attendance at most games. I will admit that I didn’t go to a lot of them, but I did attend when I could. Then Rex came to town.

Rex’s Apollo High team was scheduled to play our Eagles at our gym. Suddenly, the Ohio County High School gym was the place to be. Everyone wanted tickets to the game to see Rex play. Some students at the school were not happy at the hero’s welcome he was going to get and decided to give him a different kind of welcome. I’m old and forgetful and can’t tell you many details of the reception. I know there were likely signs and taunting. I’m petty sure I remember someone asking for his autograph and then chewing it up and spitting it out. Needless to say, we were not nice to him, but it pales in comparison to things you hear about today. I feel like it was just our way to show everyone that we were there to support our guys, not cheer on the famous enemy.

The principal of our school did not agree. I have a memory of having to write an essay on sportsmanship after the game. I don’t know if it was the entire school or if one teacher made us do it. I just remember writing something about how we shouldn’t be expected to give someone the key to the city because he was playing against us in basketball.

Of course, one Rex was at UK I was a big fan and followed his career in the NBA. I am happy to see that he has overcome his addiction issues and seems to be doing well. I was following him on Twitter long before he was Twitter famous and am amazed when I see so many celebrities retweetng him.

I still think he got what he deserved when he played against our team in high school.

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How Do You Solve a Problem Like Rex

If you are not a UK fan or you are a UK fan who does not read all of the online stuff about the team(do those people exist?) you might not know what the Rex problem is. About two hours¬† before the national championship game, former UK player and fan favorite Rex Chapman tweeted this – “Was messin’ ’round on Sat nite re: Cal. But word is – win or lose 2nite – it’s a …Cal 2 La-La-Land 2 coach Mamba’s Lakers. “. UK fans are very upset with Rex for tweeting that right before the game. I’m not upset for the following reasons:

1. I say this over and over again. My twitter and my facebook are mine to post what I want. If you don’t like what I tweet or post on Facebook it is your problem, not mine. If you don’t like it, don’t follow. As Ricky Gervais said “Following someone on Twitter and complaining about what they tweet about is like phoning someone to tell them you don’t want to talk to them”. Rex is not an employee of the university and is not a journalist. He has a right to post what someone told him if he wants. Don’t like it? Don’t follow.

2. The only people who would have a legitimate reason to be upset with Rex are Coach Calipari. his family, his team, his boss, the Lakers coach, his family, his team, his boss. The only reason anyone else would possibly be upset is because they didn’t like the information in the tweet and it made them enjoy a basketball game less. Again, it’s not Rex’s responsibility to woerry about how you feel about the information he tweeted.

3. It had no effect on the game at all. Some people have tried to use the “what if the players read the tweet and it made them play worse” argument. I’m not sure if any of the players follow Rex on twitter. It’s possible they do and would have seen it if they were checking twitter.¬† However, two hours before the national championship game the players were most likely not reading their twitter feed. They had more important things on their mind than what Rex Chapman had to say about Calipari’s job status.

4. This whole debacle once again helps the national perception of “UK fans as lunatics”. We are really willing to “excommunicate” Rex from the UK family because of what we consider an ill timed tweet? I’ve always been a fan of Rex Chapman and the events of Monday night did not change that.