Talen Horton-Tucker Should Have Deleted His Old Tweets Before Playing With LeBron James

Social media can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can help an athlete promote projects and interact with fans. But it also causes problems if a post is deemed offensive or controversial. Twitter is often the biggest cause of social-media issues, and apologies are often issued for tweets that, perhaps, would’ve been best deleted. Second-year Lakers player Talen Horton-Tucker may have learned that lesson the hard way.

Talen Horton-Tucker’s rookie season with the Lakers

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The Magic took Horton-Tucker in the second round of the 2019 draft. They subsequently traded him to the Lakers, and he played just six games — one start — for them last season, spending most of his rookie campaign in the G-League.

Horton-Tucker averaged 13.5 minutes per game, scoring 5.7 points with 1.2 rebounds, and one assist. He shot almost 47% from the field with his three-point shooting at 30.8%. Those are somewhat promising signs for a 19-year-old still developing. Regardless of how little he played, Horton-Tucker was on the Lakers’ roster. He finished his rookie season with a championship title.

Horton-Tucker excels in the preseason

LeBron James and Talen Horton-Tucker
(L-R) NBA players Quinn Cook, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James, Lakers Executive Administrator Randy Mims, and NBA players Talen Horton-Tucker and Dwight Howard attend the 2019 WNBA Playoff semifinals | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If Horton-Tucker’s performance in his four preseason games this season is any indication, he might be ready to take the next step in his NBA career. Ironiq Media recaps his preseason performance; he reached double-digit points in all four contests, including a 33-point performance in his second preseason appearance.

Horton-Tucker also grabbed 10 rebounds and had four assists and four steals in that contest. He was proficient in that 33-point effort, going 11-of-17 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range. His other performances were also better than people probably expected from him this preseason.

The small forward/shooting guard scored 19 points with nine rebounds in his first game; Horton-Tucker notched 18 points in his third game and finished the preseason with a 12-point performance. This included making both of his attempts from long-distance. With numbers like that, Horton-Tucker likely worked his way into the Lakers’ rotation.

Old tweets haunt Talen Horton-Tucker

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It hasn’t been all positive news for Horton-Tucker in his NBA career, though. Shortly after the Lakers snagged him last year, people dug up a tweet from 2015 about Tucker’s Laker teammate LeBron James, as BroBible reports. The tweet’s backstory dates to 2010, when a rumor circulated that James left the team because then-teammate Delonte West slept with James’ mother, Gloria. Supposedly, James found out during the 2010 playoffs and played poorly, leading to a second-round exit for the Cavaliers.

That was the basis for Horton-Tucker’s since-deleted 2015 tweet. In the social media post, he referenced the father-son duo of Doc and Austin Rivers both being in the Clippers organization, Doc as the coach and Austin playing for the team.

Horton-Tucker’s tweet said they were the first father and son on the same team since West and James were Cavs teammates, implying West’s rumored dalliance with James’ mom. That probably didn’t go over well in the Lakers’ locker room. We speculate that James shared his thoughts with Horton-Tucker when the younger player joined. They’ve likely smoothed things over so they can help the Lakers win a second-straight title.