Like many other journalists who cover UNC athletics, I follow some current and former North Carolina athletes on social media, and Nassir Little is one of those former Tar Heels.
And like many college students, I occasionally fall victim to the temptation to spend a sizable chunk of time perusing social media; this past winter break was no exception.
While scrolling through Twitter during the first week of the spring semester, I came across an interesting post from Little (@2ez_nassie).
Midway through January, the Trail Blazer retweeted a tweet from user @zscottsr1104 that says, "It's a special thing for your Coach to tell you he believes in you and will still stick with you in the good and bad times!! If you trust that guy, it pays off."
Initially, I found this to be pretty much par for the course. I'm sure if I came into Chapel Hill as a McDonald's All-American and found out that I wasn't even going to be a starter for the Tar Heels, I'd also have a bit of a grudge against UNC head coach Roy Williams. There's also no definitive proof that solidifies whether or not this retweet is directed at Williams, a question that only Little himself can answer.
But after declaring for the NBA draft in April, Little did go public to blame his reduced role in Chapel Hill on the coaching staff. The forward has also erased nearly every trace of UNC from his Instagram, leaving behind zero posts from the time when he was on the school's campus.
The only remnants of his ties to North Carolina are a picture from November ahead of the Tar Heels' matchup against Notre Dame and a bookmarked Instagram story permanently on his page titled "Highlights" from roughly a year ago that features him posing in the Smith Center.
Taking all of this into account, I couldn't help but draw a comparison to some sort of overblown, high school Twitter beef after giving the situation a little more thought. The whole thing just seemed childish and unnecessary.
I mean, here was Little who, at the time of the retweet, had been in the NBA for months and was in the middle of making plenty of money between his two multi-year contracts with the Portland Trail Blazers and Nike. He gets paid to play basketball for a living, a situation that would certainly give me the energy to push to the side any hard feelings from the past.
Yet he still felt compelled enough to take what I believe most people would also interpret as a jab at his former college coach.
And this isn't the first time he's had a similarly questionable tweet. In response to a December tweet linking an article with a headline reading "To the coach who took away my confidence", Little added, "That hit different, y'all gotta read this and maybe you'll understand."
To a certain degree, I do understand. One could argue that Williams' benching of Little played a role in the one-and-done prospect falling from a projected lottery pick to the 25th overall selection in the NBA draft.
Still, months after he left Chapel Hill, Little's one-sided battle with whomever just comes off as immature. Especially if it does happen to be aimed at Williams, a man who I can safely assume has no idea how to operate Twitter.
My only advice for Little is this: In the words of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, "keep your emotions off the internet."
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