All people love validation; I do, you do, of course celebrities do, and athletes sure-as-Shannon Sharpe’s-induction-tears do too. Thankfully — and brilliantly — one man decided to create a stage that exists solely for the pointing out and re-tweeting of said celebrities/athletes humbly honking their own horn. Harris Wittles is that man, and is that account. If you missed the boat on what exactly constitutes a “humblebrag,” Wittles – the founder of the now famous Twitter account (90,000+ followers) as well as writer for NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” —  describes humbly basking in your own glow as :

Harris Wittels: “Humblebrag is a Twitter account I started where I re-tweet people who have committed flagrant humble brags. And a humble brag is basically a specific type of bragging that masks the brag in a faux-humble guise…What I hate about a humble brag is that people try to come off like they aren’t bragging. It’s people not being honest about their intention. Just tell us you are at an exclusive party. Don’t hide it behind a complaint about your dress not fitting… It’s people wanting other people to envy them. I have realized that people do most things so they can tell other people about it. It’s all validation.”

In a nutshell, it’s a person’s way of saying, “not to pat myself on the back but… (pat, pat).” White Goodman (Ben Stiller) in Dodgeball said it best, “We’re better than you, and we know it .” Take, for example, this recent tweet by skateboard legend Tony Hawk :

“If you think getting your house ready for guests is a hassle, try preparing it for HGTV cameras. I am the worst florist ever.”

We get it Mr. Hawk, your wealthy. Your interesting. People want to film you and use your celebrity to sell their brand. It must be such an annoying “hassle” having to tidy up your city within walls so a TV network can show up at your door with a blank check, cameras rolling.

Along with a soaring television show and ever-growing fan base, Wittles writes a column for Grantland . In June  he first posted his all-time best humblebrags  and more recently followed with his tops of the past month . But Wittles has failed to do one thing; he hasn’t delved into strictly the world of sports. Athletes love validation as much, if not more so, than any given A-B-C-list celebrity, and they rarely fail to seek out recognition for not only their feats but for how esteemed they — and often we — believe they are. With the Major League Baseball playoffs on the horizon and the National Football League (imagine Berman’s voice) season nearly here — OMG OMG OMG OMG, FOOTBALL — there will be ample time for insight, film-watching, criticism, hoots, hollers, broken hearts, bones and relationships, while we foam at the mouth over our hometown teams. But for now, easy reading. Here’s the best athlete-humble-brags (re-tweeted on Wittles’ account) of 2011.

“That’s weird……I just got an email from Kanye West.” — NBA star and noted Canadian Steve Nash

“What I learned today in my W magazine photoshoot… I aint no model!” — U.S.A. goalie (and my future fiance) Hope Solo

The humblebrag force is strong with that one (she’ll show up again below).

“Eating lunch with jerry jones granddaughter is the most awkward thing ever ..its the cowboys owner if yu dk who tht is.” — Jasmyne Reece

No idea who that gal above is, but she mentions Jerry Jones — the Cowboys owner if you don’t know who that is.

“Derek Jeter and I just chatted about Ann Arbor. We both lived in Couzens! And now nostalgia sets in – I miss college.” — Nicole Auerbach , sportswriter for the Boston Globe

“I’m the chick that never combed her hair and wore sweats everyday and now I’m doing a bikini shoot. Weird. This will be awkward for everyone” — WWE superstar A.J. Lee

“Walking into sports authority buying own jersey an awkward experience. Atleast they had quench gum.” – Chicago Bears Carolina Panthers tightend Greg Olsen

“Sitting in locker room w/ Jerry rice, Herschel Walker, John Randle, @ marshallfaulk , etc… I must still b fooling ppl that I belong here!” – NFL MVP and Superbowl champion Kurt Warner

“Here in CR @ZachJohnsonPGA charity event… Thousands came out 2 watch me golf, huh? Scared I am going 2 hurt someone… FOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” — Former Green Bay Packers towel boy Kurt Warner

A double off the wall by Warner, scores two.

“Open training session tomorrow….just getting my left hand ready for a colossal signing session afterwards at the stadium! #handache ” — Manchester United futbol / soccer star for Rio Ferdinand

“We really aren’t as awake as we look! :) ” — USA Goalie Hope Solo on the set of Good Morning America

“It’s crazy how a waiter or waitress service can change, once they find out who you are! Smh! Treat me the same please!” — Former Dukie and current point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, Nolan Smith

Mike Kswzswezezeze-chefski would be proud.

“It’s amazing how someone can come up n want n autograph n they call me a the wrong name. This guy says ‘r u Patrick lewis’ no sir I’m not.” — San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis

“Im humble because I’ve been through darkness that most wouldn’t be able to handle. I’ve felt things that hearts shouldn’t feel. That’s why.” — Xavier Silas , NCAAB guard for Northern Illinois (Bio: “I only quote myself”)

…Hall of Fame status.

I hate when first class is no diff than coach. #wasteofmoney -NBA player and former Ohio State guard Evan Turner


“I was the least cool person at the Entourage wrap party at the SLS hotel in L.A. last night. But I did sip a Scotch three feet from Lloyd.” — College basketball and golf writer for Sports Illustrated Seth Davis

“Jeff Van Gundy hasn’t seen Pulp Fiction. But, he knew White Shadow episode I was in, circa 1979, line by line. Guy needs to get out more.” — ESPN/CBS basketball analyst Jay Bilas

“Watching the draft …I’m nervous like I’m getting drafted again!” — Forward/Guard for the Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins

“hey can someone order a pizza for me? an Olympic athlete ordering a Large pizza for themselves is like a pastor going to a liquor store.”  -Olympic sprinter Lori “Lolo” Jones

Why only capitalize “Olympic” and “Large”?

“Just sang ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ at Wrigley. Was informed no record contract would be forthcoming.” -ESPY host and SNL writer Seth Meyers

“I just received a text that I was the top story on I’m trying to stay out of the news.”  — Ricky Williams

Wake, bake, check

Two, in a 15 minutes span:

“(1)It’s no fun being successful all by yourself! I try to place everyone around me in a better situation if I can…(2)Just out here grinding trying to be great & help others along the way. We live in a very individualistic culture where helping others is rare.” – Browns Jets 49ers wide receiver Braylon Edwards

Well done.

“Talked to Barkley, Jon Barry before Game 1. Talked to Magic after. Just talked to Joey Crawford in elevator. Odd life I lead…” — Journalist and ESPN Around the Horn regular Tim Cowlishaw

“In the Adidas Store is it weird of I buy my own cleats??? ” — Reggie Bush

No, but it is weird your dating a Kim Kardashian clone.

“I often daydream about burning all the money I’ve made. That way the selfish people around me will be forced to talk about something else…” — Rashard Mendenhall

…Post Superbowl depression, I’m guessing.

“20 minutes until I throw out the first pitch of the Orioles vs. Red Sox game! Hope I make it to home plate :)” – Olympic gold medalist (skiing) Lindsey Vonn

“Tim McGraw concert now with @BlaineGabbert after dinner with the President. Crazy, just a kid from small-town Wisconsin. #HardWorkPaysOff” — Houston Texans defensive lineman JJ Watt

We’ll let that one slide.

“I heard I am the 2nd most influential athlete on Twitter & Facebook.. not bad for a guy who a year ago, didn’t know what social media was!” — pigeon-handler Mike Tyson

Not bad for a guy who 10 years ago was eating children.

Lastly, the man who has redefined what it is to humblebrag: Darren Rovell . “CNBC’s Emmy-Award winning sports business reporter” (his words, not mine) has not only created a list of “100 Twitter Rules to Live By” (Example: “7. Don’t ask to be followed. Twitter is a meritocracy. Earn it.”), but he has humbly boasted of his achievments more times than I can count (72, exactly). Here’s the most recent without pause:

“I love nights like tonight, but I think the HOF needs a good in-house orchestra to cut guys off…I’m afraid my National Anthems won’t get a million YouTube hits because I didn’t screw up…Hate to say this but after being at the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremonies, every fireworks display looks amateur…On my 30th birthday I played 1 on 1 with Kobe. On my 33rd, I covered the NBA labor negotiations. Like 30 better…The NBA Draft is the most boring event I have a consecutive streak to. Nine straight. Might break that tomorrow.”


For your daily dose of “How can I state this politely, I’m better than you” follow . ‘Now back to your regularly scheduled, puny, insignificant and small existences.’
Lebron James


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  • Phil

    I equally enjoy Rovell’s content AND agree he is the clown prince of humblebrag.

    • Rich Ward

      By all accounts he’s amazing at his job and the fame is well-earned, but his self-righteous attitude is so blatant I can’t help but laugh when he speaks…or writes, I should say.

  • BigSnakeMan

    Almost makes me wish I were famous so I could add this to my repertoire.

    • Rich Ward

      You’d never see that kind of attitude from the PocketDoppler crew…We’re far to cocky to even come close to sniffing humility. Next time something worth noting happens to me, I’m going to throw it in everyone’s face, sans humble-pie.

      “Next time” being my Second Life character…

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