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Tweet this: Keep it outside the lines

11/5/2010

DALLAS -- The recent flap over Charlie Villanueva using his Twitter feed to share Kevin Garnett's trash talking with the world has again raised red flags around the league about how players use social media. Many NBA players have Twitter handles and use it to communicate with fans and some to even award followers with game tickets.

The Dallas Mavericks are no strangers to the Twitter universe. The club has a main Mavericks Twitter account, plus Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Caron Butler, J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler, Steve Novak and most recently Dirk Nowitzki are all card-carrying Twitter members. So is owner Mark Cuban.

"There are a lot of advantageous things to Twitter," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It’s increased the level of interest in the league. We have like 10 million Twitter followers when you count all of our players, owners, media people. It’s a staggering number and so that part of it is good. It’s an instant connection to our game, but I think also we all have to respect the power that it has as a vehicle for bad things and negative things. This whole thing with these two guys [Villanueva and Garnett], I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on it because it’s he said, she said."

All told, the Mavs as an organization are nearing 800,000 Twitter followers.

Among the most active tweeters is Marion, who lets followers know everything from what movie he's going to see, where his offseason travels took him, what he's having for dinner or that he's dog-tired after a workout. But, he's never tweeted anything related to another player, coach or official or any event or situation that occured during a game or inside the team locker room.

"What happens on the court, stays on the court," Marion said. "Whatever happened [between Villanueva and Garnett] is between them. Some of this stuff is getting out of line, but it is what it is. That’s what everybody lives and dies for this media [stuff], this media ruckus. They want anything they can make a story off of."

Hard to blame the media on this one. Villanueva made news all on his own when he sent out a tweet to tell his 118,855 followers what Garnett said to him between the lines.

So, which Mavs player has the most Twitter followers? Try Jet with 400,096, well in front of Cuban, who has 253,024. Marion has 54,359 and Nowitzki, who just got started on the social media site on Oct. 20, is closing in on 12,000 followers.