BOSTON (CBS) – For many athletes, social media has developed into an incredible tool during the past few years. It allows them to control their own message and communicate directly with fans, rather than depending on traditional media to pass along their opinions.
For all of the positives it provides though, social media can take a toll on players. The heckling no longer stops when you leave the arena after a bad game. Now, fans can keep chirping at athletes on Twitter or Instagram, making it tough to get a performance off one’s mind.READ MORE: Brockton High School Adds Metal Detectors, Bag Searches To Updated Safety Precautions
Celtics guard R.J. Hunter is familiar with this reality and has made big moves to avoid it for his rookie year. The simple solution? No social media during basketball season.
“I did it last season [at Georgia State]. I thought it helped out,” Hunter said Wednesday. “When you are hot, Twitter is on you. When you are down, Twitter is killing you. I need balance in my life and that’s not it. So I’m off of it.”
The ban goes beyond just Twitter for Hunter.
“All of it,” he said of the social media platforms. “Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter. I’m done with it. I’m locked in.”
Hunter’s attitude is indicative of a mature perspective for the 22-year-old. The funny thing about Hunter’s decision is that he has been a fan favorite across the Twittersphere during the first few weeks of the season. Despite minimal playing time and lackluster shooting (40 percent), fans like the awareness that Hunter has shown on both sides of the floor.READ MORE: Rain Returns, Heavy Tuesday With Threat Of Flooding And Damaging Winds
Rather than getting caught up in that praise, Hunter has focused on staying even-keeled, while his teammates have applauded him for his effort and steady performance thus far.
“I like them,” Evan Turner said of Hunter and fellow rookie Terry Rozier. “I think they’ve been working really hard. They work really hard, you know, showing up early, stay late. I think they deserve time on the floor to play and I think they work hard enough to play well. They came in and gave us a lift. R.J., once he gets going he can score, and Terry always plays tough. I think with more minutes they’ll be even better.”
Hunter has also been appreciative of the trust Brad Stevens has already shown in him, including calling plays for him out of timeouts despite having previously airballed a jumper.
“Yeah, that was huge. I thought I wasn’t going to see the ball for two weeks [after that airball]. After he sent that, I saw (Evan Turner’s) face and he kind of looked (shocked). That definitely helps. It’s a confidence boost when your coach believes in you.”
With Hunter determined to eliminate distractions, he’s poised to become a bigger factor in the Celtics rotation in the coming weeks. A little less time micromanaging feedback in front of a screen should give him ample opportunity to clear his head and focus on learning the NBA game.MORE NEWS: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.