When he was 21, Stephen Hawking received an ALS diagnosis and was told he had two years to live. He outpaced that estimate by over five decades, long enough to make groundbreaking discoveries and become the most world-famous physicist in the history of physicists.
He also lived long enough to witness the rise of Twitter, where athletes put their feet into their mouths (or into their Twitter thumbs?) regularly.
After Hawking passed at the age of 76 on Tuesday, Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar did just that.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward, who’s been out since February with a broken bone in his foot, posted a photo of himself in his wheelchair, accompanied by a Hawking quote translated into Portuguese: “You have to have a positive attitude and get the best out of the situation in which you find yourself.”
Você tem que ter uma atitude positiva e tirar o melhor da situação na qual se encontra.
Stephen Hawking pic.twitter.com/JE2MtyuT6b
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) March 14, 2018
Twitter users did not appreciate Neymar’s comparing his situation to that of Hawking, who spent most of his life in a wheelchair.
It’s the height of self-centeredness to put Hawking’s death in terms of yourself. Neymar’s temporary wheelchair situation is profoundly minor compared to the lifetime wheelchair situation Hawking had. I’m sure Neymar meant no harm, but come on.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) March 14, 2018
Neymar there, with his sore metatarsal and sprained ankle, marking Stephen Hawking’s death by cheerily comparing himself to quadriplegic Stephen Hawking pic.twitter.com/f9bkh5AEhb
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) March 14, 2018
Neymar there, with his broken toe and sprained ankle, attempting to draw a comparison to Stephen Hawking, who had debilitating ALS for over 50 years. https://t.co/a92QlzFSoS
— Christian Allen (@ChristianAllen8) March 14, 2018
Neymar cannot be your favorite footballer anymore: he used the death of Stephen Hawking and his disability to publicize his recovery for a broken leg. Repulsive.
— Mikala Paula (@mikalapaula) March 14, 2018
Because a multimillionaire footballer stuck in a chair for a few weeks while a small bone heals is JUST like Stephen Hawking… Or maybe Neymar heard that this Hawking chap was obsessed with ‘the stars’? https://t.co/zcwurO8rym
— Sebastian Smith (@SebastianAFP) March 14, 2018
— David Biller (@DLBiller) March 14, 2018
Good on Neymar to compare his injury to hmm…
A man who battled ALS for 45 years https://t.co/scwWIe6GCn
— Orlando Soccer Show (@4thOfficialShow) March 14, 2018
Great to see Neymar drawing inspiration from Stephen Hawking as he adjusts to living his life with a sore ankle for a few weeks. https://t.co/VogGFNBI7j
— Si Lloyd (@SmnLlyd5) March 14, 2018
Eddie Redmayne stars as Neymar in “The Theory Of Everything Is About Me”
— David Rudin (@DavidSRudin) March 14, 2018
Neymar is expected to return to training in mid-April.