Ultimate NBA Twitter Rankings

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2013

Ultimate NBA Twitter Rankings

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    If the early days of Facebook made you yearn for a social networking medium by which you could stalk and associate with people with whom you have absolutely no interest in being friends...well, you're probably a huge fan of Twitter. It was built for one-sided relationships, borderline-obsessive fans and anyone who needs to know everything about everyone.

    It was built for the simultaneously wired, interconnected and isolated human condition that's come to define the 21st Century.

    And it also happens to be a perfect fit for NBA stars. Hard as it is for some to accept, they really don't want to be our friends. Or they certainly don't have the time, anyway. When you're living life on the go, 140 characters may be as good as it's going to get.

    Sometimes that's more than good enough.

25. Jeff Green, F, Boston Celtics

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    Jeff Green's Twitter feed is nothing short of refreshing. Not only has he surpassed 14,000 tweets in relatively short order, he's done so without relying exclusively on idle banter with fans. 

    His insights into the human experience reveal a life lived not all that differently from the rest of us, at least in one key respect: "Hate when I go to watch something on my DVR and I still sit thru every commercial lol get it together Jeffrey."

    Minus the Jeffrey part, we've all been there.

    Pretty sure we've all tried this one too: "Man is so cute."

    She didn't respond. Maybe she just didn't know about his softer side: "Kelly Rowland new song is emotionally deep...get it off ya chest girl."

    If it weren't entirely creepy and far too time-consuming, I'd favorite all of Jeff Green's tweets. 

24. Andre Drummond—C, Detroit Pistons

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    After just one season in the NBA, the Detroit Pistons' Andre Drummond already has fans recommending he play the next Batman.

    The young center just might give Mr. Affleck a run for his money after averaging 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks last season in a vindicating rookie campaign. How those kind of stats help in the crime-fighting department is anyone's guess, but they certainly couldn't hurt.

    Scarier than his size, athleticism and NBA 2K skills, however, is the fact that Drummond is an absolute retweeting machine. He's racked up nearly 10,000 tweets and is still all of 20 years old, still a baby in Twitter years.

    Some make it worth sifting through all the rest, namely when Drummond started having eyes for TV star Jennette McCurdy.

    She eventually noticed that Drummond and his fans alike were transfixed from a far, eventually introducing herself—with a wink, no less: " nice to meet you! ;)"

    After buckling his virtual knees and responding with a "very nice to meet you as well," McCurdy's next reply had to have Drummond jumping over backboards: " I wanna watch you play!"

    OK, so maybe the best things on Andre Drummond's feed are the ones posted by other people, but when those people are a party to a budding, cross-country, Twitter-brokered love affair...it's time to sit back and enjoy regardless of who's composing the tweetage.

23. Nick Collison, PF, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Becoming a professional basketball player usually isn't the best platform for showing off a world-class sense of humor. That's what Twitter's for.

    And no one knows that better than comic-in-the-(maybe)-making Nick Collison. All those Seinfeld reruns have done some good generating gems like this: "Thank you @capsulewallets for the wallet. It was much needed after years of carrying my giant Costanza wallet. Its exactly what I need."

    Collison isn't just another wise guy, though. His wisdom has gotten to the bottom of mysteries like the origins of Gangham Style

    We will come up with a high energy song. It will have an aggressive dance that people with no rhythm will be able to easily execute. For this reason it w/be popular @ weddings and sporting events. The dance will be mostly hand movements. It will be called "Gangham Style."

    Nick Collison knows Gangham Style better than Gangham Style knows itself.

22. Steve Nash, PG, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Don't accuse Steve Nash of having anything less than the highest ambitions. Is he pulling a Dwight Howard and already contemplating his post-Lakers future? It sure sounded like it when he tweeted this: "Just saw #Beyonce with my best friend & bday girl @iamBrittanyv Swear I'd make Beyonce's dance crew. #sexist."

    Depending on how the 39-year-old holds up this season, he may find himself on that dance crew soon enough—assuming he could hold up any better there. Fanciful dreams of touring with Beyonce notwithstanding, the thing making Nash so lovable is that he's a genuinely nice guy.

    His frequent contributions to Twitter earned the iconic distributor a place in Time's 2011 list of 140 Twitter feeds not to be missed. Sean Gregory credited Nash with a "dry sense of humor" and even noted his penchant for satire. 

21. Kendall Marshall, PG, Phoenix Suns

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    Kendall Marshall still has a long, impossible way to go before even coming close to replacing Steve Nash on the floor, but he's making serious strides across the social media landscape. The 22-year-old has to rank among league leaders in pop-culture absorption. 

    If that's not an advanced metric, it probably should be. 

    Without guys like that around, we might think Suits was still must-see TV. Marshall tweeted otherwise: "Suits is losing its lust for me."

    He also keeps us grounded with increasingly uncommon sense: "You can't call a show Prison Break, have 4 seasons, and they break out in season 1."

    Most importantly, Marshall stays on the cutting edge of technology—"I miss the Nokia phone, with snake"—even if he wishes he didn't have to.


20. Jared Dudley, G/F, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Jared Dudley hasn't been one to wow in the stats department, but his Twitter numbers are impressive. Well on his way to 15,000 tweets, hopefully he'll add to his still modest following now that Los Angeles is paying a little extra attention.

    It should be. Dudley's one of the great "all-access" types, engaging fans and telling it like it is in Q&As. For example, he confessed he plays as whatever team he's on in NBA 2K, which probably isn't a bad idea. That counts as homework, right?

    If you've got your heart set on getting retweeted, Dudley may be your best bet: "Sorry for blowing up everybody's timeline!! Trying to show my followers some love.. Hope everybody's having a good day.. Take care."

    If you're not looking to get retweeted, prepare to see lots of traffic from those who are. Still, following Dudley's a must. He's one of the good guys.

19. Jamal Crawford, SG, Los Angeles Clippers

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    For all there is to say about Jamal Crawford's dribble handle, you should follow his Twitter handle just as closely. He's easily one of the most laid-back, down-to-earth voices around. In an NBA world where it's easy to get sidetracked by everything but basketball, don't worry about Crawford. He's, "Not caught up in the hype.."

    The king of the crossover could also crossover into writing self-help books whenever inspiration strikes. 

    His feed delivers plenty of advice ("Don't worry about what you can't control..") and reflections ("Some of the best moments in life are the ones you can't buy.."). 

    Like new teammate Jared Dudley, Crawford's also more than happy to conduct the occasional Q&A session, where we learn—among other things—that JCrossover himself actually thinks AI's crossover was "the best." 


18. LeBron James, F, Miami Heat

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    What LeBron James lacks in life-changing tweet creativity, he makes up for by tweeting everything—except during the playoffs, of course. 

    Otherwise, the four-time MVP stays pretty plugged in: "This is real hip hop at his best! @kendricklamar boxed em into a corner. We going crazy over here people!!"

    Having that personal DJ around probably helps. With celebrities like James the closest thing to royalty on this side of Atlantic, his fans stay pretty plugged-in, too. What passes as normal day-to-day stuff for the rest of us is automatically tweet-worthy when LeBron's involved: "Jury duty time. Time to serve my civic duty http://t.co/7OgkVM74Er."

    Just don't get too up-close and personal. Larger-than-life personalities need their space, too (what with being so large and all). James got a little introspective for a minute there about the limelight, composing a three-tweet masterpiece that all of us can pretty much relate to:

    Man it's hard to go out and have a good time these days! It's cool though, it's part of my life. Wouldn't change anything (just saying). Been in the spotlight since I was 15. Sometimes u just wanna STOP!! But I refuse cause I have a commitment to the youth to inspire them!! That will keep me pushing forward and focused alone.

    And it will keep the rest of us Twitter-stalking Mr. James whenever he's not looking. 

17. Jeremy Lin, PG, Houston Rockets

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    It doesn't get any more "aw shucks" than Jeremy Lin. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The NBA could probably afford a little extra cheer and positivity from time to time—or, in Lin's case, all the time.

    Sometimes, though, you have to wonder if there aren't some ulterior motives behind that Ferris Bueller exterior: "Happy Mothers Day to my mom and all the mothers out there!! In exchange for the flowers i sent, id like some home cookinnnn soon lol."

    You can actually see Mom/Chef in action in what quickly became Lin's most important contribution to Twitter yet, the "You've Changed, Bro" video.

    One look at his feed proves he really hasn't changed one bit. Still Linsane as ever.

16. Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Kevin Durant is more enigmatic than you think.

    He respects his elders, stays humble and never lets the haters get to him. Even though he's racking up technical fouls at an accelerated rate these days, there's no question Durant remains one of the NBA's truly good guys.

    Technically, the real foul here is what happens when he gets a massage: "It's crackin in Taiwan, but I'm gettin a massage and this lady put this Hot ass oil on my back sooo I'm about to fart..#GetBack"

    Crackin' indeed.

    After a postseason that was unfortunate in the truest sense, you can't blame KD for trying to take his mind off hoops for a while—even though his fans won't have it: "I can post a pic of a hot pocket and people on IG gonna find a way to debate about basketball in my comments lol."

    That's too bad, because we're long overdue for a debate about hot pockets.

15. Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers

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    When Chris Paul isn't assisting others, he's treating them to pics of Little Chris, who just happens to be more adorable than all other children combined (sorry, kids). There's lots more where that came from—including the now-famous "Blake Face"—on Instagram.

    Keep it on Twitter for the latest interactions with CP3, though. Sometimes he'll even take a cue from teammates Jamal Crawford and Jared Dudley, giving the fans some real-time Q&A.

    Just don't ask about Little Chris unless you're ready to take a lie-detector test. When one fan asked to babysit, Paul replied, "Sure, with a VERY thorough background check..."

    That's reasonable.

14. Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks

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    Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban might talk more business than the average hoops fan cares to hear, but as NBA owners go, he's far and away the most entertaining. That has as much to do with his penchant for talking good-natured smack as anything else—even to a guy who's no stranger to talking: "Hey #sharktank fans. We are still on Fridays . Monday is just an extra helping of the best show on TV ...you hear that @realDonaldTrump ?"

    Cuban's feed also happens to be one of our best opportunities to hear from a legitimate thought leader, a guy who's at the forefront of imagining the NBA and all its heretofore undiscovered possibilities. That kind of outside-the-box mindset is no accident—it's the philosophy that made the man a billionaire: "Challenge conventional wisdom. There is almost always a better way."

    Facing those conventions head-on helps when you have a reservoir of knowledge spanning sports, entrepreneurship, technology and pop culture. Cuban's goes pretty deep. 

13. Iman Shumpert, G, New York Knicks

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    Anyone who cares about the intersection of hoops and hip-hop will have a field fay with New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert. You could call it self-promotion, but it's everyone else doing most of the promoting. Fan after fan gushes when the 23-year-old releases a new track, one proclaiming him "better than half these rappers 4real."

    The New York Knick's finest moment came in response to Kendrick Lamar's verse on Big Sean's recently released track "Control" (NSFW). Shumpert first had some fun with the Compton native via Twitter, tweeting, "In response to Kendrick verse...he is my fav rapper. He can say what he wants. He is the BEST out. But ill still dunk his ass #crown."

    Then he responded the old-fashioned way, with a few bars of his own (also NSFW). And, oh yeah, Shumpert plays a little basketball on the side, too. With Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith needing some extra help, Shumpert could build a hoops legacy worth rapping about soon enough.



12. Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat

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    Dwyane Wade would have a top-10 ranking if this were all about Instagram. That's where much of his Twitter activity winds up sending you, and that's where you'll find him working out, looking introspective, and, most importantly, making fun of Kevin Hart. 

    If pictures are worth a thousand words, Mr. Wade is nothing short of verbose. Besides looking all grown up these days, the three rings are another fine testament to how far he's come. 

    But he still hasn't come too far to drop by prom in the middle of the playoffs: "I had a blast at Prom w ... Never be 2 scared to ask.. They might just say… instagram.com/p/Zb8M-jlCPd/."



11. Nick Young, SG, Los Angeles Lakers

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    First of all, @NickSwagyPYoung may be the best username in the business. It tells you all you need to know about what lies ahead. Whether he's just kickin' it with Brandon Jennings or going all out on an inflatable water slide, there will be pictures. Oh yes.

    Young may be a man of few words, but there's something to be said for brevity. Maybe that's how he got this far: "I'm a reality TV star now."

    That might be pushing it. Then again, watching the Los Angeles Lakers work to surpass low expectations this season will be the best reality TV around—especially with reactions like this one revealing a score to settlle: "GTFOH 12th that's crazy talk."

    Thanks to ESPN's aggregated rankings putting the Lakers 12th in the West, this reality show is already soaking in drama. That Dwight Howard guy passing through didn't hurt, either.  

10. Daryl Morey, GM, Houston Rockets

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    Since when do general managers have personality?

    Meet the Houston Rockets' Daryl Morey. We already know all about how he helped introduce a healthy dose of analytics into his organization's standard operating procedure. Turns out he keeps up with social media, too.

    When Dwight Howard spun the globe and pointed at Houston, here's how Morey reacted: "We have accomplished nothing. Only work ahead, but 4now I will sound a Barbaric YAWP 2the Rockets staff who worked so hard 2put this 2gether."

    There's no time for celebration when you're Daryl Morey, but there's always time for the arts"Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor" -- my favorite Sondheim lyric/quote."

    Maybe a little too much time for the arts: "Also, as a fan of both the NBA & theatre -- I am intrigued by Lockout: A Musical http://t.co/dIAIwOrkPa."

    Nope, not getting on board with that idea. But we should all get on board with the fact Morey's both a team-building revolutionary and cultured renaissance man. He even plays table tennis.

9. Shane Battier, F, Miami Heat

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    When Shane Battier plays fantasy football, Shane Battier gets a logo. He wound up getting several logos—some of which are terrifying—all because he challenged his Twitter following to design him one.

    One with goats: "MyFantasy fball draft is this weekend. Can somebody design me a logo that involves an army of football-playing Goats? Winner gets free gear."

    Because of course.

    One particularly horrifying rendering seems to be cheerleaders posing as football players posing as goats...all while posing next to a photo-shopped Battier who's, naturally, riding a goat. Don't try to understand. That's exactly what Battier wants you to do.

    Fun and games are only the tip of the iceberg. When he isn't turning his feed into a canvass for weird, he spends most of his 140 characters as one of the most engaging personalities the NBA has to offer. That's thanks primarily to his late-night worthy wit. When asked how he likes his coffee, Battier went the non-sequitur route, saying, "Like my women. With Splenda."

    It's the only route he knows.

8. J.R. Smith, SG, New York Knicks

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    If hate-spitting trolls getting what they deserve qualifies as world-class entertainment—and it does—then New York's J.R. Smith isn't to be missed. This is bickering at its very best: "bombing my mentions is the quickest way to get #BLOCKED."

    And when you're Smith, you can always get away with playing the status card: "? Who are u again? what do u do? Professional twitter thug!"

    Despite his VIP credentials, Smith still gives his critics the time of day. There's a reason for that: "It motivates me! RT @xTBellx85@TheRealJRSmith why u always answering the haters and never the true fans? #NYKallday."

    You hear that, Knicks fans? The haterade is J.R.'s lifeblood. You know what to do.


7. Steve Kerr, TNT Analyst and Former NBA Sharpshooter

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    TNT's Steve Kerr quickly became one of the NBA's most beloved television analysts thanks largely to his sardonic sense of humor and trenchant appreciation for everything from X's and O's to all the intangibles that make teams work. Unsurprisingly, he brings those same qualities to the Twittersphere:

    Heading to the Bay Area for 2 days of recording sessions for NBA 2K14.. Any suggestions for phrases to sneak into the game? I'm thinking I throw in a couple of Marv impersonations, and maybe a shot or two at @ReggieMillerTNT.

    As far as his comedy goes, Kerr is the Curb Your Enthusiasm of the NBA ranks—probably because it's where he draws inspiration: "I love Bill Belechick. The Tebow press conference was beautiful. He's like Larry David in 'Curb' minus the humor. He's a social assassin!"

    You won't find any laugh tracks or canned jokes, but for the most sophisticated seekers of whim, Kerr doesn't disappoint.

    You might even catch a glimpse into his dog days of summer. 

6. Roy Hibbert, C, Indiana Pacers

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    Roy Hibbert's said some things he'd like to forget, but the body of his Twitter work remains impressive. 

    When his Indiana Pacers came up short in the Eastern Conference Finals, Hibbert responded with class: "Competing against @KingJames @chrisbosh @DwyaneWade was 1 tough challenge. Yall made me a better player n I thank y'all for that. Good luck."

    And while Hibbert's tweets won't always blow you away with entertainment value, the pensive ones tend to be better than your average platitudes: "Always wanted to b a McDonald's All American. Wasn't. So whenever I play against one. My eyes light up. Best thing 2 never happen 2 me."

    Always count on 140 characters to the wise. And to everyone else following Mr. Hibbert. 

5. Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors

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    Things are just starting to get good for Stephen Curry, and his Twitter feed is like having court-side seats to his life. It's not always pretty. He's shown off his offseason moves and given us a pretty good idea of where he gets them from.

    But it's his movement around the globe that's yielded some of the best visuals. Either that, or somehow managing to juggle nuggets while keeping his dribble: "Breakfast ball handling drills w/some Chick-fil-A ."

    It's a shame to let a good nugget go to waste, but Steph spares nothing for one of the best handles in the game.

    Thanks to that handle and an even better stroke from range, Curry's set to build upon his Golden State Warriors' breakout 2012-13 campaign—so long as he stays healthy, anyway. Despite having some of the NBA's very worst ankle luck, Curry shows his real stripes by keeping a sense of humor even when that bad luck strikes at the worst of times: "No ankle left unturned lol."

    Glad someone can laugh about it.

4. Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Blake Griffin has grown on me. Initially, I was a little turned off by the face-pushing, flopping and complaining. His personality always seemed more Dwight Howard than Kevin Durant, and it's hard to get behind that.

    Until you find yourself completely disarmed by his dry, self-effacing humor. Then there's no turning back. If the Kia commercials somehow weren't enough to sell you, his responses to fans during a Twitter Q&A will change your mind.

    Asked his preferred sport were he an analyst, Griffin went with the obvious choice: "Curling."

    When posed a far more socially significant question, however—his "weapon of choice in a zombie apocalypse"—Griffin answered, "Bare Hands broski," proving he wouldn't last long on The Walking Dead.

    Or would he?

3. Phil Jackson, NBA Coaching Legend

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    Phil Jackson's voice still carries a lot of weight sheerly by virtue of legend and poise. Few have affected the game so significantly at its highest levels of competition, and still fewer have done so while remaining totally awesome. 

    But Jackson's voice is all the more relevant in a world where it's linked to the Los Angeles Lakers—especially during a summer like this one. He set the record straight on his involvement with the organization's pursuit of Howard: "Error in reporting about my involvement with @DwightHoward meeting. I was amenable to talking with DH, but the meet never came to play."

    And he went on record after that pursuit failed: "Reflection on DHoward’s exodus. He left a distaste in Lakerland The Lakers will be fine. Pau fits MDA’s style of Off-it was about the future."

    Interspersed between timely commentary and serving as the occasional voice of reason, Jackson doesn't always like to tweet. But when he does, he prefers to make it memorable: "11 champ;ipnsikp[ ringhs."

    Don't worry, there was a good explanation.


2. Metta World Peace, SF, New York Knicks

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    Don't try to understand Metta World Peace: "I'm doing a documentary It's so sad It's about me It's called "Sneakers and Cool Aid" Don't cry for me , Support me."

    Just let him sink in like abstract art. There's a method to the madness—we think, anyway: "Every morning I lather my thoughts with mayo."

    Didn't think that was the method, though. That just sounds messy.

    World Peace has long been an entertainer in one way or another—first with his erratic competitive fire, now with a much calmer eccentricity. The opportunity to showcase that creativity in big markets has done wonders for his NBA staying power, but so too has Twitter.

    His meandering reaction to being amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers was about what you'd expect, an almost bitter-sweet attempt to both make light of and grieve over the situation. For a moment there, he even tossed around the dreaded R-word: "I'm retiring !!!!! Ask me why!!!! Hurry before I forget why I am retiring !!!"

    When push came to shove, World Peace did the one thing even more intriguing than kick-starting his post-NBA life: He signed with the Knicks.

1. Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Kobe Bryant knows there's such a thing as information overload, and he probably just has other things to be doing with his time...like, ya know, recovering from a torn Achilles and returning his Los Angeles Lakers to the top without Dwight Howard's help.

    Whatever his reasons, his feed isn't overflowing with noise, and that's a good thing.

    His finest moments are reminders of his unparalleled determination: "Remember who got amnesia #gasoline #mambamentality."

    Including his subdued incredulity in the face of an ESPN aggregate ranking that put his Lakers near the bottom of the West: "12th I see.."

    Bryant believes in himself, and he believes in his team, lobbying to keep Metta World Peace before it was too late: "Personally I'd keep Metta and make a run with the unit we have and just add a few pieces #keepthepeace #lakersstilldeciding."

    But he doesn't believe in sharing his cyberspace with someone who walks out on that team, and he readily defended his Twit-split with Dwight Howard, tweeting, "I wish d12 the best honestly. I just find it hard to follow players that wanna kick my teams ass #thatsjustme."

    It's really not just Kobe. He's got some support on that one. But this isn't about making (or keeping) friends for Bryant—it's about doing whatever it takes to make the Lakers relevant again. We'll probably see this story told in full soon enough one day. Until then, keep your eye on Twitter.

    He reported on his fancy new "medical mamba" shoes, and now that Bryant's moved on to a specialized treadmill, it's only a matter of time before the next superhuman leap in his recovery. I'm guessing we might hear a little something about it on Twitter.