Mitch Trubisky famously said before the 2018 NFL season that he would go “Zero Dark 10.” That is to say, he would step away from social media accounts of all types to focus on his job playing quarterback for the Chicago Bears. He didn’t want the inevitable negativity sent his way to offer a distraction from the task at hand. It’s not a bad idea. Just don’t expect Coby White to embrace a similar plan.
The Chicago Bulls 7th overall pick in 2019 is not one of those players who avoid criticism. Quite the opposite. He thrives on it. The more he hears it from people, the greater the fuel he has to make himself better in order to prove them all wrong. It’s such an important part of his basketball life that he actively seeks out haters on Twitter and screenshots them as a memento of why he’s putting in all the hard work to be great.
He explained to SLAM Online before the NBA draft that it was something he embraced when he began his career at North Carolina.
“It’s a great feeling because I used all that as motivation. Even people from my city that I knew, I was cool with—you have them on Twitter and personally I know them, talk to them a lot and I see them around the city—they’d say, Yeah, give Coby two or three years and he’ll be in the League. And Give him two years and he’ll grow and he’ll get better. I screenshot all that,” he recalls.
“I just like to have it because on draft night—I’m not petty, but I’d want to send the picture to them like, Remember when you said I was…But I ain’t petty. I [just] used it throughout the season [for motivation], but now I had to clear storage on my phone. I had to get some apps. I be flying a lot so I had to download movies. I deleted a lot of them but throughout the season I did [look at them].”
Coby White got results few expected of him, at least right away
One can understand why White was a little miffed upon hearing people say he’d be draftable in “two or three years.” This was a kid who set the North Carolina state record for points scored in high school with 3,573 points. Keep in mind that list also includes the likes of Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry, Pete Maravich, and Tracy McGrady among others. Those guys have had pretty good careers.
White was a 5-star recruit to one of the best basketball programs in the country and made a starter as a freshman. Still, people doubted him. So what did he do? He passed Jordan for the UNC freshman record for scoring with 469 points. Then he became the 7th pick in the draft. Yet even now plenty of people remain doubtful. The NBA is a different animal, they argue. He’s not ready for it.
There will be more. Just be warned that he’s watching and will be saving lots of that. History shows that the louder you tweet, the better he plays. So keep the hate coming.