Homicide’s credibility, worth pays price for social network self gratification

For a man with a lot to say, Corey Williams’ medium of choice is an odd one.

The Melbourne Tigers import was the centre of attention during his side’s clash with Perth on Friday night, entering the game on the back of accusations that he’d defaced a courtside banner belonging to the Wildcats at an earlier practice session.  

The ill feeling between Williams and the Wildcats was made manifestly clear when the latter’s chief executive, Nick Marvin, told The West Australian: “Corey clearly has no respect for the Perth Wildcats fans and uses every opportunity to disparage us… We’ll reserve our right to respond by the way we play.”

Williams had the opportunity to respond not just through his on-court performance but also through half-time and post-game interviews with One HD sideline reporter Caty Price.

The Corey Williams of previous seasons would have relished the chance to counter Perth’s claims and talk trash in front of a national television audience. Alas, the Corey Williams of previous seasons has seemingly become so infatuated with the notion that his colourful antics are beneficial to the media-starved NBL that he is now behaving as if it is his raison d’être for being in the league.

Sure, he continues to play excellent basketball and has boosted the Tigers’ playoff chances.

That, however, is currently secondary to the excessive self-promotion that has reached a level equivalent to a boxer who, on the eve of a televised bout, engages in contrived conflict with his opponent for the sake of driving pay-per-view buys.

The only difference is that Williams is seeking to drive the number of followers he has on Twitter. Rather than respectfully answering Price’s questions, Williams treated the reporter with a sexist disdain, patronisingly telling the “sweetie” that if those watching at home wanted to hear the truth about the pre-game accusations cast at him, they must instead subscribe to his social network ramblings.     

In other words, he paradoxically had so much to say that he preferred to articulate it through a medium that only allows 140-character posts.

Unlike the boxer who receives the financial spoils of an increased buyrate, Williams’ goal brings nothing but the self-gratification that obviously comes with tweeting: “770 friend request in less than an hour? Let’s make it 1000 and that’s even a better look people!”

The irony of Friday night’s happenings is that Williams truly believes he was conducting himself in a manner that was for the good of the game. As one of his post-game tweets claimed:  “Sumtimes the game needs pranksters. Things like this only make it fun, entertaining and memorable…”

What the game truly needs is strong relationships with its media partners. The NBL’s presence on One HD has provided an enormous fillip for the league, yet Williams sees the network and its audience as ancillary to his own ego. In his mind, the means of degrading a reporter are justified by the end of attracting more people to his Twitter account, where the sexist comments continue through tweets such as “wild cats [are] too sensitive like women” and “Man the fuk up.”

Perhaps instead of manning up Williams should wisen up, because at the moment the only thing “Homicide” is killing is his own credibility and the opportunity to maximise his true value to the league through media platforms other than his own BlackBerry. 

Corey Williams hasn’t been the only NBL player to cause controversy on Twitter this season. Then Sydney import Taj McCullough tweeted this comment straight after his side’s loss to Townsville. It was soon deleted, but not before Scibz’ Spiel got a screen shot.
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Homicide kills astronomical myth

 

Corey “Homicide” Williams didn’t just kill the Perth Wildcats on Wednesday night; he also brought down a long-standing myth surrounding the NBL.

 

One of the explanations for the league’s gradual decline since the 1990s has been a lack of “stars.” Apparently there has been no one capable of capturing the public’s imagination since the retirement of Andrew Gaze, whose popularity has transcended the basketball community.

 

This theory isn’t just born out of its preachers’ ignorance, but it’s also an insult to the league’s pantheon of players who are delivering an on-court product as good as Australian basketball has ever offered. Headlining this group is retiring Adelaide great Brett Maher. Maher’s story of overcoming adversity, as detailed in his recent biography Mahervellous, deserves common-knowledge status within Australian sporting folklore. Indeed, the respect that he has garnered in his home state of South Australia was encapsulated on February 7 when 8300 fans – 500 of which were standing room only – packed the Distinctive Homes Dome to bid farewell to their club’s heart and soul, even going as far as naming the hardwood “The Brett Maher Court” in the process. It takes something special to draw that type of crowd to an NBL game these days, and Brett Maher is clearly that.

 

The most recent addition to the NBL’s galaxy is Townsville’s Corey Williams. Dubbed “Homicide” during his days carving up opposition players on the streets of America, Williams is the first NBL player since, you guessed it, Andrew Gaze to have a shoe named after him – the 187. Anyone questioning the marketability of Williams only needs to hear him interviewed, or, most recently, catch a replay of this week’s elimination final between the Crocs and Wildcats. After securing an upset road win with a dunk in the game’s dying seconds, Williams ripped off his jersey as if he’d just scored at Anfield and proudly displayed his club’s colours to the 4400 passion-fuelled Wildcats fans that had created an atmosphere befitting Game 5 of a Grand Final series. Interviewed after the game by, ironically, Andrew Gaze, Homicide called on the “Croc Nation” to pack The Swamp for their home semi-final, paid enough recognition to his teammates to escape the American individualism that would make some Australians cringe, and emancipated himself from the plague that’s turned most sportspeople into cliché-ridden robots. In short, Williams matched his on-court feats with personality warranting star status.

 

The problem for the NBL, however, is that raw talent and personality is not necessarily enough to turn a sportsperson into a mainstream star. Rather, we now live in a superficial age of celebrity. Some of the world’s biggest stars have gained cultural ascension on the back of clever public relations departments and, most importantly, image dissemination. Anna Kournikova certainly didn’t become a household name for her tennis ability, nor has David Beckham gained fame purely for bamboozling goalkeepers. Hence the inability for players such as Corey Williams to register with mainstream onlookers. With only 1-2 games on pay television each week and minimal media interest, the dissemination of images within the NBL is almost non-existent, unlike the 1990s. While Gaze’s popularity was propelled by his on-court heroics and off-court affability, his star status was largely a product of the free-to-air coverage and marketing of his era. If “Homicide” was plying his trade at that time, his name would be just as recognised as Bradkte, Copeland or Loggins. Conversely, if Gaze was at his peak in 2009, his name would seldom leave the sports pages.

 

Therefore, while some doomsayers may think that the next crop of Australian basketball stars is generations away, their telescopes are only a decent television deal and marketing budget away from identifying them.

 

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