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NBA & Twitter – Success on the court vs activity on social media

When I started to think about this topic, I wanted to have a quick look how success on the court is represented on social media platforms. In our case we will look into general NBA stats and basic Twitter data.

Please note the following:

  • Player data used in this post is accurate for the 15th of May 2020. This is valid for both, NBA stats and Twitter info
  • Team data used in this post is accurate for the 18th of December 2020. This is valid for both, NBA stats and Twitter info
  • In order to view the graphs and charts clearly, please use a bigger screen. If you are on a mobile device, use the landscape orientation for a better view.

Players – Do they have time for Twitter when playing at the highest level?

Within the players section, we’ll look into the following:

  • Players with most followers
  • Players with more than 15K minutes played and more than 15K tweets
  • Players with more than 15K points and more than 5k Tweets
  • Players with more than 5K assists and more than 500 favourite Tweets
  • Older than 35, who scored more than 20K point

Each of the charts is self-explanatory enough, so I will not write too much about it. Let’s start

At the end we will check how teams rank on Twitter comparing to their playoff success.

Mr. Popular – Players with the most followers

At first glance, there are not many surprises on the list, but I expected less retired players.

The biggest surprise for me was Manu Ginóbili, but well deserved as he was a brilliant player and always left the impression of a good person. In addition, Argentina has a population of almost 45 million people. Same goes for Dirk Nowitzki & Pau Gasol, huge international stars coming from big countries.

Shooters gonna Tweet

Do we have guys who are scoring on the court and tweeting in the similar fashion? It seems so.

Stephon Marbury, once great NBA star and even bigger one in the Chinese basketball league, is absolutely dedicated to Twitter. 42189 tweets and 16297 NBA points. As Starbury is retired since 2018, sky is the limit for him. On the other hand LeBron finds some time to tweet, between winning championships and breaking the records. KD also going strong (burner accounts not taken into consideration).

Work hard, play hard – guys that are busy on and off the court

Let’s have a look at the guys who played more than 15 thousand minutes in the NBA and were able to Tweet more than 15 thousand times.

Kenny Anderson, one of the finest point guards during the 90s, has tweeted more than 111 thousand times. Incredible. 2nd is Rex Chapman, one of the more interesting persons on Twitter, at least among NBA players. We will dedicate a few lines to him later in this post. And the 3rd one is already mentioned Marbury.

“Pass first” type of guy

Quick overview of the lads who are willing to share the ball on the court and share some love on Twitter. Players who were distributing the ball so willingly on the court, do they share the same sentiment on the Twitter?

Interesting thing, only 2 active players are here. Well, that is because it is not easy to break the line of 15K assists. But also that biggest stars carefully pick what they like or share on social media. And they get paid for it, handsomely. For example LeBron James liked only 144 Tweets. Kyrie did it 40 times, which is still more than Westbrook or Magic, who liked only 25 tweets so far.

Chris Paul & John Wall are the only one among active players who are “playing” unselfishly on the court and on the Twitter. On the other hand, we have Terry Porter, a great point-guard from the 90s and the NBA coach. Not sure if he’s into programming, but it seems he has a bot in place to do the “liking” on the Twitter. 16446 liked tweets. Well done Mr. Porter!

Old guns – Does the new generation recognize all-time greats?

I was curious to see how NBA legends are floating on Twitter. Being completely aware that the game of basketball is more than just scoring, I decided to filter out guys who scored more than 20K points in their careers. Also, as the idea was to exclude current starts, I have only included older than 35.

As we can see on the chart above, most followers have the biggest stars from the previous 2 decades: Shaq, Kobe (RIP), Wade. Also, international stars like Dirk & Pau are highly followed. If we look at the older guys, Kareem is doing great with more than 2 million followers, which is no wonder as he was always outspoken and social active person. Being a media person definitely helps for Paul Pierce.

NBA teams with the most followers

Pretty straightforward this one. No big surprises.

Lakers on their own planet, as expected. Warriors reaping benefits of that crazy success with a star-stacked roster. Bulls, with that MJ legacy followed by D-Rose years going strong. Cavaliers are among only 8 teams with more than 3 million followers. I guess we can see LeBron effect here.

NY Knicks & Patrick Ewing

I’m not sure should I be surprised positively or negatively by the Knicks? 2.1 million followers, for a team that won last playoff series 8 years ago. But on the other hand NYC is the biggest city in the US, by far, with more than 8 million people. While I am not sure if the Knicks should have more followers, I am definitely sure that Patrick Ewing should. We are talking about the guy who led the Knicks for 15 seasons. And during those 15 years he produced 23665 points, 10759 rebounds and 2758 blocks. Incredible numbers. Yet, on Twitter he has only 36.4K followers. It seems that many New Yorkers and Knicks fans in general easily forgot one of the biggest stars they ever had.

Rex Chapman – NBA star or Twitter star?

Anyone who followed the NBA in the 90s knows Rex. He was a very good shooting guard that lasted in the league for 14 years. He even dropped 39 points on that 1996 Bulls team. And led Miami to a win, which was rare that year as the Bulls finished with 72-10. I have stumbled upon Rex on Twitter randomly while he was sharing his block or charge posts, which were brilliant. In the meantime Rex became kind of a star on Twitter, where people are not aware at all that he was an NBA player once.

As we can see on the simple chart above, Rex’s Twitter stats are impressive, but his NBA career was also respectable. It has been more than 6 months since I have collected the data, and in the meantime, Rex broke the record of 1 million followers.

With this we are closing this post.

If you find this article interesting, you can follow me on Twitter to get notified when new things are published.

Sources:, Twitter


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