Block or charge?
Those three words have changed Rex Chapman’s life.
Chapman, a two-year star at Kentucky before playing 12 seasons in the NBA, has become a comedic Twitter sensation. Now with nearly 900,000 followers, Chapman’s evolution exploded with one single tweet.
It was a video of a paddleboarder riding a wave who just moments later got nailed by a dolphin leaping out of the water. Chapman retweeted the video, adding a simple question – “Block or charge?” – poking fun at the NBA’s often-contentious rule.
With that simple question, Chapman’s Twitter persona launched into orbit.
“I was at the SEC tournament last year,” Chapman told ESPN. “I went to get my credential, and it was eight to 10 interns, just college students there helping out. I showed them my ID, and they said, ‘Are you Rex Chapman, the guy from Twitter?!’ I went, ‘Yeah, that’s me, getting my credential. Let’s go.’”
Since his ascension to feel-good Twitter profile fame, Chapman has used the block-or-charge moniker for a plethora of other videos he comes across – loose tires nailing cars, wild cows running over bystanders, boys running head-first into stop signs and just about anything that makes him, and his followers, laugh.
There are some qualifications for what he posts, however.
“It started picking up so much steam, I had to kind of put some ground rules out there,” Chapman said. “I asked people, ‘I think this dude breaks his arm. Is that OK to post?’ But now there are really only two rules. One, it has to make me laugh. Two, no death. It’s a little twisted that I even have to explain that no-death thing to people, but I do.”
As part of his rise to Twitter fame, Chapman has expanded to heart-touching posts, such as a dog greeting its owner after being separated, and isn’t shy to voice his political beliefs, either.
Chapman’s Twitter-game has gone swimmingly, but the 52-year old took a winding road to get there.
After two standout years in Lexington, Chapman was picked No. 8-overall in the 1998 NBA draft, becoming the first pick in Hornets franchise history in the process. Although injuries plagued his career, Chapman was known as a sharpshooter who wasn’t afraid to challenge big men, both by attacking them at the rim and on annoying them on defense.
Near the end of his career, however, Chapman began to take painkillers – specifically Vicodin and Oxycontin – to treat his various injuries. He became addicted, at times taking up to 50 pills a day. The pills helped quell feelings of depression he experienced throughout his career, according to Yahoo Sports.
Chapman saw his life spiral out of control following his playing days. He had held multiple jobs in NBA front offices and served as TV analyst for Grand Canyon University. In 2014, however, he was arrested for stealing from an Apple Store in order to pay off various debts.
Following the arrest, Chapman underwent a successful stint in rehab, and has been clean ever since.
While he still makes appearance with Kentucky media to comment on the basketball team, Chapman largely keeps his days unoccupied. Other than maintaining his ever-growing Twitter profile, that is.
After spending most of his life in the public eye, it’s exactly the way he wants it.
“Nothing at all,” Chapman told Yahoo Sports. “I’m perfectly content to just do nothing and swim a little every day. It makes me feel better, like a normal human.”
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