UNCASVILLE, Conn. >> Elena Delle Donne is no stranger to the joys and pitfalls of social media.
The Washington Mystics star saw both sides of it Friday night. She was having a little fun watching Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and his $495 shoe when Los Angeles played its first summer league game.
She tweeted out “How great would it be if (Lonzo Ball) blewout his shoe in his first summer league game? Should have gone with Nike.”
Delle Donne, who has her own player exclusive shoe with Nike, had no idea what was coming over the next hour. Her tweet drew 2,000 likes and 800 retweets. It also had 459 comments, mostly negative.
“I was getting killed. Got to love it, though,” she told The Associated Press on Saturday at the Mystics shootaround before their game against Connecticut. “It was a joke, I like to mess around, think of myself as a kind of funny person.
“All the hype around the BBBs. How many times have athletes blown out a shoe? A shoe? Not talking injury. People were taking it like I wanted him to get hurt. Are you kidding me? I want him to have a great future. It’s so funny. One joke and it’s like, phew. Guess he’s got a lot of fans already.”
Delle Donne is in her first season with Washington after spending four in Chicago. She has helped the Mystics to a 10-7 mark and was second in early All-Star voting last week just behind Maya Moore.
She’s been active on Twitter the last few years, constantly engaging with fans. In this case, she didn’t mind the good-natured response, but took exception when people were twisting her tweet and suggesting she wanted Ball to get hurt.
“Most of the time I look at it and go, ‘oh, my gosh’ and let it go,” she said. “But when it gets to a point where they take it out of context with me wanting him to get injured, absolutely not! I have to correct that. I would never wish that on any human being. That’s where you get a little frustrated by it. I didn’t say that. So don’t take my words and stretch it to something that it’s not.”
The response to the Ball comment was nearly double what she’s had for most of her other tweets this year. A photo of her at the post-inauguration women’s march drew about 1,000 likes and a picture of her with her dog Wrigley at the vet had a third as many.
“It’s so odd. Different things that get traction. It’s social media for you, it’s the world we live in. It gives everyone a voice,” she said. “It’s crazy how things can be taken out of context, too. It was seriously a joke about a sneaker. I know all the technology that goes into shoe making.”