Viral View

Raheel Ramzanali: Examining the timeline of viral moments

James Harden's crossover against Wesley Wright dominated the news cycle. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Last week in the much-anticipated rematch between the Rockets and Clippers, James Harden pulled off the move of the NBA season when he dropped Wesley Johnson with a crossover in the second quarter. While many players fall victim to a crossover and suffer the ever embarrassing ankle break, this one was different, this had the epic stare down from Harden that created one of the most viral moments of the season on social media.

Going viral on Twitter is nothing new for sports moments and because of how common it is, virality now has a timeline of events that most viral moments follow:

  • The Moment: This is the foundation for virality. The moment that made everyone stop and realize that something special just happened. We’re not sure how The Moment is picked, but we as a society just know that it has been picked. In the case of this viral moment, the event occurred roughly at 10:05 p.m. CST.

  • The Bootleg: Soon as The Moment is picked, the first mention we see of it on social is with fans recording their TV and sharing the video so they can be the first to have it. We could all wait about three minutes for the super HD clean versions from official accounts, but nahhh that’s no fun. The first bootleg to hit Twitter occurred roughly at 10:06 p.m. CST.

  • The Official Video: Leagues and teams are REALLY good at getting HD video from viral moments up fast in today’s sports landscape. If a play happened and we didn’t share it on Twitter, did it really happen? Official Video hit the web at 10:08 p.m. CST.

  • The Hyperbole Quote Tweet: This is where the fun really starts with a viral moment. Once the video of the moment hits Twitter, everyone gets in some great hyperbole joke regarding the moment. There were literally thousands of these, but the first one that made me laugh was ESPN’s Jemele Hill tweet that put Johnson into witness protection. These events start soon as the official video goes up and they never end - 10:08 p.m. CST until lifetime.

  • The Internet Bag: Sharing the actual video is fun, but at this point, it is EVERYWHERE. This is why accounts that go into the Internet bag of tricks will shine during a viral moment. Accounts sharing videos and gifs from other memorable moments are fantastic in a viral moment. One of my favorites was this guy using the toddler crossed over video to describe what happened.

  • The Titanic Edit: This is one of the few internet memes I just don’t get, but it is part of the timeline. Somebody will always put in Celine Dion’s "My Heart Will Go On" behind the actual moment and share it. This occurred at 10:28 p.m. CST.

  • The Wikipedia Edit: Wikipedia is the greatest tool and weakness we have on the internet. We literally use it hundreds of times in a month, but we also fall victim to the ease of editing on it during a viral moment. A viral moment really hasn’t gone viral until somebody edits a person’s Wikipedia page. This happened at 10:37 p.m. CST.

  • The Instant Contrarian: I know as a sports talk host I’m supposed to hate the hot take jakes, but gosh, I wish I could’ve jumped in on that trend before and make millions. While most people can’t stand the hot take jakes of the world, I appreciate them because it really is an art to create contrarian takes that will upset people. The hot take jakes really start showing up when something goes viral. There was no chance Skip Bayless was watching the Rockets game, but soon as he saw a moment went viral, he jumped in with the obvious Game 6 blast and “it really wasn’t that great of a move” take. This event occurred at 10:44 p.m. CST.

  • The Good Ol’ JR (Jim Ross) Treatment: If JR wasn’t the voice of your childhood then you need to stop reading this story and go back and watch some great moments from the WWE. If he was the voice of your childhood, then you already know this social media trend where people dub over a JR call to the viral moment. This occurred at 11 p.m. CST.

  • The Sh*t Can We Still Get Play Out Of This?: Look, some social media managers like to sleep and they will miss a great moment, but worry not because these social media managers will play the “let’s get some hits the day after” card and share the moment again. This occurred March 1st at 8:20 a.m. CST.

  • The Next Day Edits: These are the best because the person editing really cares about the quality of work and will put in some actual effort as opposed to the JR and Titanic crew. My favorite was this person’s Fortnite edit. This occurred at 6:41 p.m. CST on March 1st. Also, I don’t play Fortnite so please don’t ask me. Now get off my lawn!

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Bringing NIL deals to high schools will have some challenges. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Name, image, and likeness, or NIL as it has been known, has been a hotly debated topic. When some states allowed college athletes to start getting paid through NIL deals, others had to follow suit. NIL deals basically allow athletes to get paid from endorsements and the like. They can make appearances, sign autographs, and get endorsements. No longer can schools make a king's ransom off the backs of these athletes without the athletes themselves benefitting from their popularity.

Sponsorships are also allowed, which started some of this years ago when Jeremy Bloom was a pro skier who also played college football at Colorado. Bloom wasn't allowed to have sponsorships, which was a HUGE part of his skiing career, if he wanted to continue to play college football. After fighting a losing battle when the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible, Bloom went on to compete in the 2006 Winter Olympics. He went on to have a couple short stints in the NFL, but his football career never materialized.

When a few states took the NIL law and opened it to high school student athletes, they REALLY opened a can of worms! Other states are now in full scramble mode trying to figure out how can they make this work, do they want to make this work, and wondering if this will open Pandora's Box. Newsflash: Pandora's Box has been open longer than your local grocery store chain. Schools have been paying for play ever since time began. SMU got the dreaded "Death Penalty" in the 80s behind it. Teams have seemingly had wink-wink agreements not to out one another. But high schools? This is a bit much.

AAU, club, and travel sports have had a shady undertone that's been more intense over the last 20 years or so. This is especially true in AAU basketball, where shoe companies and the like have long been "sponsors" of teams. Follow your favorite NBA player's career from high school to the league, then see what shoe company he signs with. I guarantee there's a pipeline in most cases straight from the sponsors of his AAU/high school team to his shoe deal.

Bringing NIL deals to high schools will have some challenges. For example: I heard this past weekend that a prominent high school player has an NIL deal in place with Bentley. What if said school sees a kid at another school, possibly in another state that may not have NIL deals for high schoolers. What's stopping said school from relocating this kid and family by offering them new jobs as well as an NIL deal? Private schools and charter schools aren't regulated like public schools. What's going to stop them from using funds to create a factory of college athletes by offering what other schools can't as far as NIL is concerned?

Here in Texas, football is king. Specifically, high school football. You can go to any town on a Friday night, and the local high school stadium is packed to the brim. If any of you think those towns won't band together to offer kids the best NIL deals they can in order to gain any advantage, you're crazy. States will need to hurry and approve this to stay competitive, but they'll also need to regulate it as best and as fast as they can to prevent a wild west scenario. I can see this getting out of hand quickly, but then some will step in to regulate it as soon as the scales no longer tilt in favor of the rich and powerful.

Texas is an oil rich state. New tech companies are moving here in droves because of the state tax laws. That's why the housing market is looking the way it is now. With the way high school football is like a religion here, imagine if NIL deals are allowed? What's stopping a powerhouse program from becoming invincible and cranking out 10-20 or more top tier D1 athletes from a single graduating class on a single team? We already see it with these human athlete factories masquerading as high schools.

I'm all for student athletes taking advantage of NIL. However, it has to be regulated. Why not have agents get trained and certified like pros do. Then also have them register in each state and pass a state certification, similar to the way lawyers or real estate agents have to. Now everyone is state and/or federally certified to help kids get what they can above board in NIL deals. This could've helped prevent Nick Saban's ignorant comments from last week by bringing much needed law and order to the wild west of NIL deals. Until it happens, we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, I'll sit and watch the utter CHAOS (in my Khal voice)!

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