If you’ve been following our training camp coverage in the forums, you probably know by now that Rockets guard/forward Terrence Williams has been dropping out a few shoutouts to the ClutchFans community.
This started harmlessly with a tweet that, through replies, got back to Williams. He responded. Then he saw the videos, started to reply to the camera and even called ClutchFans the “best fans on earth.” In fact, T-Will had dropped a third shoutout to ClutchFans on media day, but I didn’t post it initially because I thought — geez, people are going to think I set this up like some sort of self-promoting radio/TV intro.
The truth is I hadn’t set it up and hadn’t even talked to T-Will about it, so I didn’t know if he actually read the site or if just some of the videos and replies on our Twitter feed had caught his attention. After all, we have thousands of diehards posting different opinions daily in the forums, and some aren’t so sunny — what if he had read some of that stuff? That probably wouldn’t go over too well (#wordaapp).
I didn’t have to wonder for very long.
Fast forward to yesterday’s Open Practice to the public at the Toyota Center. I had just filmed the entire first half of the scrimmage, which was basically a defenseless parade of alleyoops and uncontested drives. The second half was even less competitive — the players were walking (I mean literally) about 80-90% of the time. It’s understandable since they were gassed from a 2 1/2 hour practice before this spectacle, but I had stopped filming because there wasn’t really much more to get… or so I thought.
Sitting in the front row under the basket with roughly two minutes left in the game, I had my head down looking at my phone trying to catch up on anything I missed. I hear someone ask me, “What are you doing — tweeting something?” I look to my left. There is Terrence, who is technically still tallying minutes as a scrimmage participant, sitting next to me. It takes me a few seconds to comprehend this. I’m usually somewhat prepared, but dude just appeared out of nowhere like George Burns in an “Oh, God” movie.
T-Will proceeds to talk and I can’t grab my camera fast enough (video below).
“I’ve been reading you guys’ blog, ClutchFans.net,” says Williams. “I read it throughout the day.”
Williams said he started doing it recently, then offered a very unique and candid perspective — one of a player reading fan comments about himself on the internet. He cited a specific example of criticism — a post on our site made early in Saturday’s preseason opener about how he “sucks” and to “get him out of here.”
I knew exactly the thread on our forums he was referring to. A user had reacted prematurely to T-Will’s rough first half against the Spurs only to get clowned by the community for the rest of the game as Williams hit 7 of his last 9 shots in the second half.
“As you see as the game goes on, the posts start to change,” said Williams. “My whole thing is it’s easy to critique a basketball player going to your 9-to-5 and sitting behind a desk when we know when we put our shoes on, we’re subject to get criticized from those that never played the game, or they played in a School of the Blind League or church league when they were younger.”
T-Will was calm, cool and collected while talking about this. He says he reads it all, but takes it with a grain of salt.
“It’s good for entertainment,” says Williams. “I respect everyone’s opinion, but everyone’s opinion is not true.”
The game was ending and the 6-foot-6 Williams had to get back out on the floor. Rising out of his seat, he left with one parting message.
“I’ll still always shout out to ClutchFans.”