Rob Perez had spent his life watching the NBA and knew he wanted to be part of it. What he didn’t know, though, was how he would manage to do so.
Eventually — and, in large part, thanks to the emergence of Twitter, Periscope and Vine as essential parts of the Internet’s relationship with basketball — Perez figured it out. The result was the creation of “World Wide Wob,” Perez’s Twitter handle that now has more than 170,000 followers and has become the home of some of the funniest content created about the NBA.
“I knew the only way I could do this full time was I needed to give people a reason to go out of their way to click on my page or come to my timeline, and that was not by putting out the same highlights you could see on every website in America,” Perez said on the latest episode of “Posting Up,” The Washington Post’s NBA podcast. “I needed to find things about basketball people know exist but weren’t being delivered to it in a content form.
“You combine that business mind-set with me being the guy at the pickup court that enjoys crossovers and waving a white towel around their head in a helicopter motion or imitating Charles Oakley in the post, and that’s just my personality. So when you’re able to combine the two, I think I was able to find the perfect medium, or the formula, to make content out of that, because everything on the timeline isn’t catered to a specific audience. It’s just me talking.”
It’s a formula that has worked wonders for Perez, who not only leaves those following him laughing throughout each night of the NBA season, but also has already completed two seasons of “Buckets,” a show about the NBA with ESPN’s sideline reporter Cassidy Hubbarth that is produced by Cycle and ESPN.
All of that — the Twitter and Periscope work, as well as the show — comes back to the same place: Perez trying to find the little moments that happen during games that people don’t typically notice and turning them into laughs. Sometimes it’s a kid rooting for the home team leaning into the huddle of the visiting team being caught on camera. Other times it’s making sure everyone saw a vicious dunk by one player over another, or — in the most famous recent example — players trying to get into the opposing locker rooms through “secret tunnels.”
Whatever it is, Perez tries to find it — and, in doing so, adds to the ongoing soap opera that is the NBA today.
“We over dramatize every little thing in the NBA,” he said. “That’s why this league has turned into a combination of WWE and ‘Days of Our Lives.’ It’s a soap opera with actual sports. It never stops.
“We can’t go to bed without Kyrie Irving taking a picture looking over the ocean while on vacation, which is completely harmless. But how does he tag it? How does he caption it? ‘I’m free, finally’ or something. It’s the biggest subtweet in the world! But the problem is when you’re dealing with the pettiest player in professional sports history in LeBron James, he is so calculated that he is already at the Drake concert ready to tweet something about waves, which he did, like, six hours later. And we are following this like ‘Oh my God, they are telling us things. How do people not see this!’
“We have to make a major scene out of it so when something like a secret tunnel happens, we have a foundation in place. That’s the whole purpose of what we are on the Internet, what NBA twitter is. We even have our own hashtag. I don’t see hashtag NFL Twitter, I don’t see hashtag NHL Twitter, but I do see hashtag NBA twitter, and that’s because we’ve become the biggest Internet plague in terms of content on the Internet.”
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