The social media platform of Twitter proved increasingly popular in 2012 as athletes took to their Internet soapboxes more than ever. Though the ability to provide 140-character updates on a particular sport is beneficial, stars from the sports world continue to use the forum to communicate about a wide diversity of subjects.
Here is a look at the top sports tweets of 2012:
RT @bubbawatson “Feels Good To Be Awesome” (April 11, 2012) — As one of the most popular players on the PGA Tour, Bubba Watson has embraced communicating with fans through Twitter. In fact, the affable golfer has already posted over 40,000 tweets. Watson triumphed during a sudden-death playoff to win his first Masters Tournament in April. The celebration took many forms and Twitter captured it all, including photos of the famous Green Jacket, an appearance with David Letterman, and changing diapers on his new-born child. This tongue-in-cheek update came three days after Watson claimed his first major as the 34-year-old humorously reflected on his breakthrough.
RT @lancearmstrong This isn’t about @usaantidoping wanting to clean up cycling – rather it’s just plain ol’ selective prosecution that reeks of vendetta. (July 5, 2012) — Few stories generated greater buzz in 2012 than the fall of Lance Armstrong. The controversy began in June when the 7-time Tour de France winner was charged with using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. Armstrong quickly fought back on Twitter to his 4 million followers but eventually dropped opposition to the allegations. The decision allowed the USADA to ban him from cycling and retroactively strip his legendary victories. Claiming to be the victim of a witch hunt, this tweet accurately reflected Armstrong’s position. However, his words are also telling since the “selective prosecution” defense is common with the guilty.
RT @mckaylamaroney Disappointed on how today turned out, but everything happens for a reason!! #noregrets.. Plus, the silver medal is actually pretty sick!! (August 5, 2012) — The U.S. made a strong showing at the Summer Games in London and top athletes like Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin routinely celebrated exploits on Twitter. After winning gold with the American women’s gymnastics team, McKayla Maroney earned silver on vault. Highly favored to win the event, the 16-year-old was photographed with a frustrated expression during the medal ceremony. The picture quickly went viral and countless parodies surfaced with the gymnast unimpressed. Maroney’s tweet attempted to dispel any displeasure with silver. Yet, with the snapshot named “Most Viral Photo” of 2012, the belief that “McKayla is not impressed” remained more fun.
RT @drewbrees Just saw Jonathan Vilma in our building. That’s right Who Dat Nation, he’s back!!! (September 7, 2012) — Achievements away from the field of competition often generate the most entertaining tweets. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees received a new $100-million contract in 2012 and broke the NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. However, the year was most memorable for the Saints’ leader due to his connection to the team’s “bounty scandal.” Harsh suspensions were given to multiple players, including a 1-year ban for linebacker Jonathan Vilma, but a federal court overturned Roger Goodell’s punishments in September. In this tweet, Brees celebrated his teammate’s legal victory and return to football. The optimistic entry was re-tweeted 2,312 times, as the “Who Dat Nation” prepared for the football season.
RT @kingjames 2 terms!!!! Ohio u guys are the awesome #ObamaStillPrez (November 6, 2012) — Using the moniker “King James,” basketball star LeBron James enjoys a widespread fan-base on Twitter with nearly 7 million followers. Though some athletes avoid politics for fear of alienating supporters, the Miami Heat player abandoned such reservations to endorse the re-election of Barack Obama. In fact, the 27-year-old devoted 6 tweets to backing the president in early November. This celebratory tweet came on Election Night, as victory in Ohio (home of the jilted Cleveland Cavaliers) fittingly put Obama over the top. James receives extra credit for use of a hashtag, the space-saving technique of replacing “you” with “u,” and an unexplained “the” before “awesome.”
Yahoo! Sports, Twitter.com.
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Jeff Briscoe is a writer who covers sports for Yahoo! Contributor Network. He co-hosts the Florida-based radio show “The Sports Train.”