The NBA is in a place where it is more than just one of the three most popular sports leagues in the United States. It's become culturally important to a point where the players and their personalities have become almost as important as the games themselves.
For as long as there has been basketball, the close proximity of the players to the fans has made for access to some eccentric people, but never have we had the ability to access these players whenever we want to with just a few clicks of a mouse.
Open up Twitter, type in the name of the player you want to know all about and click the little follow button. That's all it takes for a personal link between you and a professional basketball player.
Of course, you don't want to go clogging up your timeline with every player in the NBA, so I decided that it would be a good idea to narrow them all down.
The makings of a good tweeter is both a personal touch to each message and some insightful, thoughtfulness to what they're tweeting. The best NBA tweeters try to be witty and let their personality show in their tweets. Bonus points if they don't tweet every little thing that happens throughout their day, thus clogging your timeline like a toilet on Thanksgiving.
Twitter Handle: @cheddahcheese7
There are a handful of terrific things about Al Harrington's Twitter account, and the first one is pretty obvious. Harrington's handle is @cheddahcheese7. Why that is, I have no idea, but I love it nonetheless.
Aside from the puzzling handle, he seems to be a constantly curious person, tweeting pictures of strange formations in the night sky and wondering what they are.
What the hell is this??? Just appeared in the sky. And I promise that it's Dark out.instagr.am/p/PhA-koCWVw/— al harrington (@cheddahcheese7) September 13, 2012
As a person, you get to see Harrington hanging out with his kids (which is always a cool personal touch) and learn that he's a little more cultured than you would think, most recently taking in a musical (Seussical) with his daughters.
Twitter Handle: @carmeloanthony
The coolest thing you get out of most superstars through their Twitter account is the charitable things they do with their life. While they don't try to be as entertaining as some of the lesser players in the league, it's nice to see what some guys who are truly blessed in their abilities are doing to give back.
Carmelo Anthony has been working on refurbishing basketball courts, most recently in Puerto Rico, which is really cool.
Refurbished another bball court in PR twitter.com/carmeloanthony…— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) September 18, 2012
Twitter Handle: @KButter5
One of my favorite things about the 2012 draft class is how many of them are terrific on Twitter. We're starting to enter the generation of people who have grown up with Internet access for nearly their entire lives, which means there's a lot of skill in their Twitter game.
Kendall Marshall is the first one we get to take a look at, who is a constant comedian with his tweets, never shy to share a musing.
Cosbyness is next to godliness.— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) September 23, 2012
He seems to be a really cool guy with a down-to-earth style through his Twitter account, which really reflects the way he carries himself on the court.
Twitter Handle: @AustinRivers25
Austin Rivers quickly gives us our second rookie to really take a look at following, who is constantly thinking aloud about everything going on in sports.
Be it basketball, football or even tennis, Rivers gives out his opinion on anything from an Eagles game to the US Open.
Sharapova got EATEN today. All that hype! ....Williams sisters are real.— Austin Rivers (@AustinRivers25) August 4, 2012
Anybody who saw him on First Take knows that he's a pretty smart fellow when it comes to the sports world, and we get to see that through his Twitter account.
Twitter Handle: @swish41
One of the coolest reasons to follow Dirk Nowitzki is based solely on fan interaction. Dirk isn't one of those guys who is going to tweet about everything he does, but when he gets on a roll he can be extremely revealing.
From his question and answer sessions that he has with fans you get a good look into Dirk's personal life, what music he likes (Zeppelin and The Stones) and something as simple as his favorite flavor of ice cream.
When he isn't answering questions, he tends to tweet about soccer or whatever he's got going on, although he's not one to waist your valuable timeline space.
Twitter Handle: @TyLawson3
There's a difference between people who are open-minded and say what they feel when they're a regular person, but when a basketball player does it in front of a national audience, things can get a bit dicey. That's one of the reasons that Ty Lawson has such a cool account.
Lawson doesn't try to filter his words or his thoughts too much, and the best part about his open-brain policy with Twitter is that he's pretty consistently funny while he's dumping his brain out for us to read.
Tell PETA my mink dragging on the floor— Ty Lawson (@TyLawson3) September 19, 2012
Twitter Handle: @paulpierce34
There are little things about superstar athletes that give me a chuckle. Finding out that Dirk Nowitzki's favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla, for instance, gave me some strange fit of laughter.
That's about the same way I reacted when Paul Pierce acknowledged the Jewish New Year, wishing his chosen followers a happy Rosh Hashanah.
Happy roshHashanah— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) September 17, 2012
Besides his occasional strange tweet about a slightly obscure holiday, Pierce is like every other superstar in that he tweets about charity events and thanks his fans, but he also dumps out a string of tweets from time-to-time that just seem like real, everyday thoughts for him, which is pretty cool.
Twitter Handle: @StephenCurry30
Stephen Curry is the tweeter that is always throwing together contests for his fans, sharing about a charity event or a clinic that he's a part of, or just giving out news on how he is healing.
Finally got the go ahead to play some pickup with the squad today. Felt good to get back.— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) September 19, 2012
On a more personal level, Curry is a massive football tweeter, giving out love to his Carolina Panthers and just sharing his thoughts on whatever game he happens to be watching.
He's not overtly funny, but he is extremely real and down-to-earth in his tweets.
Twitter Handle: @Highway_30
As one of the coolest guys coming into the NBA this year, I've got high hopes for Royce White both as an NBA player and a kind of Internet celebrity.
Already we've seen a really cool mini-documentary via Grantland about how he deals with his anxiety issues, but nobody has ever really talked about how he helps people with the same problems that he has.
#AnxietyTroopers Fight ur issue by finding ur triggers and eluding them, Be humble enough 2 level w/your neighbor, and demand understanding.— Royce White (@Highway_30) September 23, 2012
It just seems like it would be a cool thing to see a person with the same problems as you making it as far as White has, and he's using Twitter to show that people can be successful on a national level with anxiety troubles.
Twitter Handle: @JLin7
One of the best things about Jeremy Lin is that he seems almost no different than he was when he was fighting for the last roster spot on the Golden State Warriors. He's like the guy who hits the lottery but keeps his job as a mechanic.
It's easy for a person to put on a charade when he's out in public, but Lin's Twitter account makes it seem that he really is no different.
1) people in texas are SO nice. 2) i got a bed. 3) @chandlerparsons couch was nice. 4) his pantry was even better.— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) September 19, 2012
Hopefully Lin continues to produce as a basketball player, as he continues to be one of the most interesting people in the sports world.
Twitter Handle: @aldridge_12
On a very basic level, LaMarcus Aldridge is the stereotypical tweeting athlete. He's constantly tweeting about how he feels blessed, that he loves his fans, he's working on a certain part of his game or he's just talking about other sports. That's all well and good, but it's not really enough to want to follow a guy unless he's playing for your team.
However, every once in a while he comes out with a random picture or thought that just keeps you coming back for more, like his socks that he had to share with the world.
People loving the socks!!! twitter.com/aldridge_12/st…— Lamarcus Aldridge(@aldridge_12) September 19, 2012
He's not the most interesting guy on Twitter, but at times he can be an extremely cool follow.
Twitter Handle: @DwyaneWade
At the same time that Dwyane Wade doesn't really do anything out of the ordinary on Twitter, he's constantly showing off why he is an extraordinary person.
He recently wrote a book about what it means to him to be a good father and basically his trials and tribulations so far as a young man transitioning into adulthood and eventually becoming a dad. Because of that most of his recent tweets have been regarding his book tour.
It's been hammered into the ground over the past few years, but it is very cool how much pride Wade takes in being a father. It seems like even if he weren't a world-famous basketball player, he would still be known for being an excellent father to his kids.
Twitter Handle: @chrisbosh
There's not much special about Chris Bosh's Twitter account, he tweets the way that most superstar athletes tweet. Here and there will be an original thought, the rest will be about him working out, doing a charity event or running a camp, but not much more.
Bosh does all this, but you get a bonus with many of his tweets; a picture of him being Chris Bosh.
Me and the young fella chillin after workout. I ran him under the table!!! instagr.am/p/PnWXWQskR2/— Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) September 15, 2012
Usually I hate seeing people take a picture of everything they do, but when it's Bosh it all seems okay. In every situation he seems like a goofy outsider just having a great time, and seeing his pictures of himself is somehow entertaining.
Twitter Handle: @CharleeRedz13
If I didn't follow Delonte West on Twitter I would have never known that the man known as Charlee Redz is putting out a mixtape. He's not got the best flow out there, and his rap game as a whole really isn't that good, but just knowing that he's looking to put out a few songs is awesome.
hahaa..yea i can dig it....i aint triing sell know albulms...just givin ya somethin to ride to...u know its all gucci ova here ..HEY.ENJOY!— Delonte West (@CharleeRedz13) September 23, 2012
Aside from his budding career in the rap industry, West brings the same unpredictable personality to Twitter that he does to the basketball court.
It's not always pretty, but it's almost always entertaining.
Twitter Handle: @QuincyAcy
This is the last rookie of the most recent class I've gotten to know via Twitter, and if there's one thing I can take away from Quincy Acy's account, it's that Quincy Acy is awesome.
Besides having a kid who is probably already cooler than I am, Acy likes fans before he's even played a game in Toronto, and he has the most majestic beard not on James Harden's face (and he might end up making a run at Harden before the year is up).
Austin's in his zone watching Yo Gabba Gabba....that means we can't talk to him lmao instagr.am/p/Px9iXmApyG/— Quincy Acy (@QuincyAcy) September 20, 2012
Acy loves tweeting photos, especially of his son, which are the coolest look into a person's life you can get on Twitter.
Twitter Handle: @jareddudley619
Jared Dudley is one of the most active NBA tweeters, and even though he's a bit of a timeline clogger, what he's got to say is either interesting, insightful or funny, so I give him a pass.
He shares his thoughts on everything from the new iPhone to the entry program that rookies go through before they get into the NBA, which is really cool.
The @thenbpa does a good job with the RTP program before you actually enter the NBA and also during the season but maybe we need more.— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) September 20, 2012
Dudley, through his Twitter account and his amiable personality, has become one of the most popular players in the NBA who doesn't happen to have the crutch of being amazing at basketball.
Twitter Handle: @Amareisreal
If it weren't for his Twitter account I would have never known that Amar'e Stoudemire wrote a book, apparently one that's family friendly and chock-full of information about a young Amar'e.
Like most people who write books, he's clogged his timeline recently with book-related news, but he does so by interacting with his fans, rather than just vomiting out a list of places he's visiting.
Aside from the book, Amar'e is a daily life tweeter, but not to the point where he's telling you what he has for breakfast every day. Recently he tweeted a picture of him at the opera with his fiancée, whom he calls half-creepily, half-endearingly his "lioness."
Twitter Handle: @SteveNash
You would think that if a professional athlete took a beer from an SUV full of dudes while in the back of a taxi on the freeway that he would try to keep it under wraps. Instead Steve Nash decided to retweet the picture they took of him and follow the guys.
If that doesn't convince you that Nash is one of the coolest dudes in the NBA, then nothing will.
Twitter Handle: @paugasol
Pau Gasol is one of the most popular basketball players in the entire world. A lot of that is because he's an NBA Champion and a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, but his standing as the greatest Spanish basketball player of all time (sorry Jorge Garbajosa) doesn't hurt either.
Back in LA!!! Feels great to be on this side of the globe! De vuelta en Los Angeles!!! Sienta bien estar en este lado del mundo!— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) September 24, 2012
While Gasol isn't the most interesting tweeter out there, the fact that he tweets nearly everything in both Spanish and English seems really cool to me. That alone makes him worth of a follow.
Twitter Handle: @KDTrey5
Kevin Durant has been following the trend of using Twitter as the ultimate intermediary between himself and his fans, and he's using it as well as anyone else in the NBA.
One of my favorite questions that he answered recently pertained to which player is his best friend in the league:
Somehow this answer made me like both Kevin Durant and Royal Ivey even more than I did before, which I didn't think was possible.
Aside from fan interaction, Durant has the usual superstar tweets about charity events and basketball clinics, but he has a funny musing occasionally.
Twitter Handle: @KingJames
There's nothing very special about LeBron James' Twitter account, and that's my favorite thing about his Twitter account. It's refreshing to see LeBron as a person rather than a basketball entity, and the fact that he doesn't try to be anything other than himself on Twitter is endearing.
He tweets about nothing, really, but that makes his account even better to follow, as he seems like anybody else despite the fact that he's the best current basketball player on the face of the Earth.
I just seen the John Clayton espn commercial for the 1st time. Man I'm over here dying laughing!! 😂😂😂😂— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 11, 2012
Twitter Handle: @MettaWorldPeace
Metta World Peace quits Twitter like Snoop Dogg used to quit smoking weed, like Oprah quits eating pizza. It seems like every other week he's deleting all of his old tweets and coming back just a few days later to get back into the game.
When he's not giving it up cold turkey, he's tweeting nonsense or blissfully hilarious thoughts. I've yet to figure out what his most recent tweet is referring to:
Clippers vs LakersGame 7 30secs leftLakers down 1 Clipper ball— Metta WorldPeace (@MettaWorldPeace) September 25, 2012
As long as there is Metta World Peace on Twitter, then the world is at peace.
Twitter Handle: @blakegriffin
The following is going to show you, basically, why Blake Griffin is worth the timeline space. Back in July, he was upset that he was missing some channels through DirecTV, so naturally he inquired.
And luckily, DirecTV responded.
Griffin then took it upon himself to play mediator between the two:
Yo @viacom word is you're the reason I'm missin some channels. Let me know. Hope you're well. Thanks.— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin) July 19, 2012
And like that, the day after Griffin dipped his beak into the problem, DirecTV and Viacom settled their dispute. Because correlation equals causation, we can conclude that Blake Griffin settled the dispute between the cable giants.
Twitter Handle: @kevinlove
Kevin Love took on the role as the USA Olympic Team photographer as the guys were hanging out in London and dropping hundreds of points on other countries in August, making his Twitter account a must-follow.
Besides the photos of the team hanging out together, he gave his insight on his own performance and pointed out the weak points of his game.
Shaq on the free throw line today!!! My bad USA. Good win for us. Needed a game like that. On to the next.— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) August 4, 2012
Hopefully Love continues to be as entertaining going into the NBA season, because Minnesota promises to be one of the most interesting teams in the league, and he would provide a great look into what's going on up in Minny.
Twitter Handle: @JavaleMcGee34
If you didn't see this coming then it's time to take a look back at the year that was in the NBA. JaVale McGee became one of the league's most recognizable non-superstars based on the fact that he was such a strange man.
Recently, McGee has taken to retweeting himself in every tweet, which seems stupid, but with McGee it's hilariously strange. He tweets about everything from what he's doing on a certain day to what other people think about him:
RT @javalemcgee34 LOOK WHAT SOMEBODY WROTE ABOUT ME. VERBATIM THO! "JaVale McGee is the most dumbest basketball player I ever heard of."SMH
— JaVale McGee (@JaValeMcGee34) September 25, 2012
What's better is that he sometimes tweets from the viewpoint of his alter ego, Pierre, talking about McGee as if he were a separate person. Basically that means he it talking about himself as someone else through a Twitter account in which he retweets himself, making it seem like he's someone other than himself.
If you followed that (and I'm not so sure I did myself), I think we can conclude that McGee has perfect the art of communicating in the fifth person.
My head hurts.
If you are one of those twitterers, you can follow me @JDorsey33.