Fred VanVleet sent Raptors fans spiraling on Wednesday when the point guard unfollowed all of his teammates on Instagram.
Coinciding with a recent slump and with the star in a contract year, speculation ran wild as to what led to the decision, as fans jumped to conclusions of potential beef, or a social media detox.
The answer, VanVleet told reporters following the Raptors 126-113 victory over the Lakers Wednesday night, was none of the above.
“Just trying to fight the algorithms, man.” he said exasperatedly. “I'm checking my page, and it's like all s**t that I don't follow.”
VanVleet added that he’d also tried to cleanse his Twitter timeline in the process, frustrated by too many suggested posts and not enough content he was actually following.
“So stupid me. Let's unfollow everybody and see if it helped. It didn't help. Somebody caught wind of that and said, oh, I unfollowed all my teammates. I unfollowed my mom too. They didn't care about that part.” Vanvleet said, chuckling.
The whole ordeal, VanVleet shared, was as much a learning experience as anything else, providing perspective on the fame — and scrutiny — the Rockford, Illinois product has accumulated during his accession to one of the faces of this Raptors squad.
Ultimately, the Raptors veteran said, he didn’t think it would be that big a deal.
“I know people are very interested in my personal life now, which is new for me. And I've got to be more aware of that. But I just take everything in stride. I'm a real person. And that was it, really. nothing more, nothing less.”
On the court, meanwhile, VanVleet sure didn’t play like he had any social media distractions on his mind. The Raptors floor general poured in 25 points against Los Angeles — tied for the game-high with Pascal Siakam — to go along with seven dimes and four rebounds. He also went a perfect six-for-six from the charity stripe.
VanVleet and the Raptors next travel to Orlando, where they’ll take on the Magic Friday in the first of a two-game mini-series against the NBA’s basement dwellers.
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