Hill-Gate: Grant Hill not retiring

The Twitterverse was sent into a frenzy after fake reports surfaced that former Duke star Grant Hill was retiring from the NBA.

The tweet that started Hill-Gate seemed to have come from ESPN NBA correspondent Marc Stein. The tweet, sent at 10:23 p.m. EST, said the following,

Source told me that Grant Hill has decided to retire from the NBA. Press conference will be held at 5 EST tomorrow on NBATV.

It wasn't long before the news of Hill's impending retirement was retweeted by other basketball insiders. ESPN NBA writers John Hollinger and Larry Coon relayed the 'breaking' news to their followers.

Then the truth came to the surface. The writers who retweeted the Hill report soon got responses from their followers claiming Stein's tweet was sent from a fake account. After further investigation, the tweet was sent from @ESPNStienLine, rather than Stein's real handle, @ESPNSteinLine. With the name and picture identical for both accounts, it was easy to see why there was confusion--the fake handle only switched the 'i' and the 'e' in Stein's name. Hollinger saw the humor in the situation, tweeting later that night, "Nervously pondering whether to retweet Stein's last post."

Apparently parody insider accounts are commonplace on twitter. Adrian Wojnarowski, @WojYahooNBA, is a writer for Yahoo! Sports. Adrian Wojnarowski, @WojYahoooNBA, is not. The same can be said for the difference between Chris Broussard, @Chris_Broussard, who writes for ESPN, and Chris Broussard, @Chris_Brousard, who does not.

Stein tweeted his apparent frustration at the situation, writing, "What happens first: Dwight gets traded or this Fake NBA Twitter Account Cult realizes this stopped being funny about a month ago?"

At the end of the day, Grant Hill is still actively looking for employment in the NBA next season. Hill, who graduated from Duke in 1994, led the Blue Devils to two national championships in 1991 and 1992.

The lesson to be learned here is to always proofread the spelling of your source's name in their Twitter handle, because you never know when they could be making the story up entirely.


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