Bulls guard Nate Robinson (left) caught teammate Taj Gibson sleeping. (Instagram photo )
Who knew taking a nap on a long flight could be so nerve-racking?
It is when you're a pro athlete and your teammates have a smartphone handy.
Having fun at your friends' expense and sharing your personality are social media staples, and they're catching on in the Bulls locker room.
The Twitter and Instagram accounts of Nate Robinson and Carlos Boozer are particularly entertaining. Off the court, "Booz" is one of the more affable guys on the team, and his Internet presence is a reflection of that, even though it took him some time to get into social media.
"To be honest, I really wasn't into social media at first," he said. "But when I got here, the Bulls asked me to get on Twitter. I got off Twitter for a little while but then I came back on a couple of months ago. But the Bulls asked me to get into it, so I did it for them."
His account, @MisterCBooz, has more than 32,000 followers and he posts regularly. He has little interaction with fans who tweet him, but he does post inspirational messages and uses the service to have exchanges with his teammates.
"I follow all my teammates on Instagram and Twitter and the funny thing is we all follow each other," Boozer said. "That's how close of a group we are."
But of all the social media services available, Boozer says Instagram—where his account has more than 29,000 followers—is his favorite.
"I just love looking at pictures and seeing people's lives and getting to know them that way," Boozer said. "I like sharing my life a little bit and let people see my family and my kids and the things that we get into. I think it's cool. It's like a way to connect with other people. I like that.
"Plus, it's like giving the fans an inside look, to let them know that we're people just like they are. We're normal just like they are. We like to do the same things that they like to do and I think it helps fans relate to you a little bit more."
Aside from Boozer, Robinson is one of the most active social media users on the team. Robinson has more than 778,000 followers on Twitter (@nate_robinson) and 164,000 Instagram followers (naterobinson).
"I started out on Twitter, but then the Instagram thing came out and who doesn't like taking pictures?" Robinson said. "I like finding funny pictures and things like that. And some of the hashtags we use—like #holdat or #stateofnate—just makes it more fun. It keeps your fans involved. It helps them to find out more things about you. It's just big for the fans and helps them to stay involved with some of the players that they love."
Some of Robinson's Instagram posts are legendary, such as the time he took Carlos Boozer's bobblehead doll and painted hair on it to mock his actual hair, which looked like it was sprayed on. There are also several pictures of Robinson and Richard Hamilton modeling jackets and asking "who wore it best?"
But the reserve guard says he has something even bigger planned.
"I've got to wait until the end of the year to put a collage together of all of the guys I've caught sleeping—I think I'll wait until we win the championship, first," he said. "But I've got all the pictures, of everybody. I'm in there, too. Guys have got me, but it's going to be a classic picture."
And who are the worst sleepers on the team?
"Jimmy [Butler], by far. Jimmy is the ugliest sleeper on this team," Robinson said. "And Marquis [Teague] tries to pull his hat over his eyes, but you can still see him. He sleeps with his eyes open. I've got a picture of Marquis with his eyes open, sleeping. It's crazy."
Bryan Crawford is a RedEye special contributor.
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