I was watching Pardon the Interruption the other day, and Wilbon and Kornheiser were talking about the ramifications of athletes using Twitter to communicate with fans. Is the wall of privacy finally completely crumbling around athletes? And if the players can just directly talk to the public on their own terms, what use do they have for the traditional media anymore?
A great example of this comes from Phoenix, where yesterday a fan who follows Shaquille O’Neal’s Twitter feed ended up meeting the big man himself at a local diner. How did the guy know where to find him? Shaq posted his exact whereabouts on his feed and encouraged fans to come say hi to him. And if there was any doubt that he was one of the coolest athletes out there, this story probably just cements it.
The lucky fan is a guy named Jesse Bearden who runs a blog called A FOOT AND A HALF. Here’s how it went down:
“Well, I just got a twitter from The Real Shaq, and he’s at 5 & Diner right now,” Sean informed me.
“Let’s go then” I said, assuming that I’d finally put this “Real Shaq” crap to rest.
Twenty minutes later we were pulling up to the restaurant and looking for the big black truck that he’s rumored to drive around town. “Maybe that’s it” Sean said, pointing at an older, but nice Van and laughing. As we pulled up I saw the Superman symbol on the grill.
Maybe that is it?
We went in, and to my surprise the MDE(Most Dominant Ever) was sitting in the corner booth by himself. We gave the man a nod and “Hey” as we walked to our table and were soon whispering back and forth like 12 year old girls at the 7th grade dance.
The guys then proceeded, after Shaqtus sent another message saying that any Twitter-ers in the diner should come say hi, to go hang out with him in his booth and get a few photos (one of which is posted above).
They then talked to the waiter, who said Shaq ordered 20 dollars worth of food but left the kid 160 dollars for a tip (you hear that, Tiger?).
All in all, a pretty cool experience for a couple of fans, thanks to technology. Although, one wonders why Shaq is going to a diner by himself and asking complete strangers to come hang out with him. Maybe we should be worried about the guy.