We’ve all at one time or another picked out a role player that appealed to us for one reason or another and made him “our guy.” Perhaps we like the sweet stroke of a three-point specialist. Often times it’s that flashy, athletic dunker who can’t get more than 20 minutes-per-game, but certainly packs a lot of punch in them. And don’t forget those hard working, undersized big men. The tough guys who remind us of all that is good in the basketball world. They aren’t usually very popular, but they have their cult followings and big fans of the team typically take notice of them.
Well Jon Brockman has shattered the mold of the fan favorite, undersized power player. After being a darling in Seattle during his college days his NBA love started in Sacramento and like so many other things in the NBA these days, it started with the stat geeks. Brockman’s college rebounding numbers earned his selection ever so muted praise from Tom Ziller when many others griped about passing on DeJuan Blair and Patty Mills.
From there, Brockman’s fame exploded on Twitter in conjunction with his hustle play, likable nature, good looks (he’s listed on OnMilwaukee.com’s Hot 100 list) and Youtube exploits. Sacramento Kings announcer Jerry Reynolds dubbed him “The Brockness Monster” and got some of Brockman’s fame crawling, but Shaquille O’Neal’s tweet to his millions of followers got it running. Brockman, a guy who may be inactive at times this season given the right circumstances has 324,711 followers on Twitter this very second. Compare that to his fellow sophomore, the third place runner-up in last year’s Rookie of the Year voting, the owner of a 55-point game and the Bucks starting point guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings has 59,603 followers. How in the world is that possible?
Well, Brockman is a different kind of NBA player on Twitter. Each word of his tweets are understandable, not some sort of slang that’s difficult to decipher. His messages are closer to the average NBA fans than they are to the average NBA player. There is very little “smh” or “now playing – some Drake song that has no staying power” like some players *coughbrandonjenningscough* are constantly tweeting. People like that. Brockman likes Eastbound and Down, surely something that will appeal to a mass audience on Twitter. There’s no question Brockman knows how to play the game in the media and on Twitter. I’m not saying he’s being insincere, but he’s very good at using social media to his advantage. He wouldn’t be cashing those $411 checks that he gets for some messages if he didn’t.
Fortunately, Brockman uses his Twitter prowess for the greater good also. AJ Bombers this week unveiled the Brockness Burger, a heart attack waiting to happen, but not necessarily a bad way to go. Brockman is donating $10 to the Special Olympics for every burger purchased this week and will even be trying his own at Bombers on Wednesday.
Not only is he unique amongst Bucks to have a local burger named after him, but one has to think back to Gilbert Brown’s Gilbert Burger of Burger King fame to think of another local athlete who has captured the imaginations of local fans so much that he’s gotten his own food. And Brockman hasn’t even played a game for the Bucks yet! But like Brown, with his gravedigger sack dance and fat guy persona, Brockman has appealed to the nature of the town he’s moved into. He’s the tough guy and the overachiever, but he’s got some flash too. He’s another reason for you wife to like the Bucks, he’s all your favorite role players (minus that three-point shooter) and a buddy of yours rolled into one.
Brockman won’t be someone half of the fans at the Bradley Center will be excited to see enter the game this year like the Darvin Ham’s and Ervin Johnson’s of years past. He’ll be in demand and he’ll earn raucous ovations … or at least he’ll quickly become a trending topic in the Milwaukee area.
A whole new kind of role player that Jon Brockman is.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com