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Athletes Who Are Good at Instagram

Giancarlo Ferrari-KingFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2014

Athletes Who Are Good at Instagram

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    USA TODAY Sports

    What does it take for a professional athlete to be "good" at Instagram?

    First off, they have to about that life. It's about having no limits, as if we were talking about Master P's clique from the '90s. 

    Secondly, posts showcasing their lifestyle on and off the field of play are crucial.

    Fans want to stay connected to their favorite players, and Instagram provides us all with that opportunity through pictures and videos.

    Twitter is great and all, but a compelling visual medium like Instagram will always be easier for fans to get down with.

    After going through a ton of accounts and curating the list, here's a look at 20 athletes who are killing the Instagram game right now.

Kevin Durant

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    Kevin Durant's Instagram game is just as entertaining as his jump shot on the court. 

    The 25-year-old Oklahoma City Thunder forward puts his lifestyle on display frequently. Being one of the most active users among athletes, Durant shows off everything from his sense of humor—see the picture above—to his lavish shoe game and family life.

    As the reigning MVP of the National Basketball Association, Durant is one of the most influential, popular players in the game today. It's only right that his game is on point.

Rickie Fowler

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    Don't mind the "burn your eyes on a Sunday" orange wardrobe he wears on the golf course. Rickie Fowler is doing his thing, and there isn't anyone who can stop him.

    Fowler is playing great golf right now. Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com even crowned him as "the best golfer of the major season, so far."

    When he's not out there on the links, Fowler can be seen on Instagram living it up.

    He mimics Johnny Manziel in front of private jets, races exorbitant cars, and even uses foreign objects to capture awesome shots of him and his friends paddle surfing.

    Fowler understands what the people want. The work he's putting in on social media is far superior to any of his peers.

John Calipari

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    Is it just me, or is University of Kentucky basketball head coach John Calipari becoming another version of Worldwide Wes?

    Calipari always seems to be having opulent dinners with Drake, taking pictures with Hillary Clinton, and hanging around Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

    Networking is vital in today's world, and Calipari's networking game is Super Saiyan strong. His Instagram pays homage to how badly the head coach is able to stunt on all of his peers.

Neymar

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    Brazilian soccer virtuoso Neymar has been a breath of fresh air on the pitch for not only his national club but also Barcelona.

    Another area where he's managed to gain a ton of popularity has been on Instagram. The 22-year-old has amassed just over 9.5 million followers.

    Yeah, he makes millions of dollars, but the young superstar uses Instagram like everyone else his age: by posting up a serious amount selfies.

J.R. Smith

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    You don't find many athletes who dominate Instagram on a regular basis like J.R. Smith does.

    The New York Knicks guard is always on point with his posts. Right now, he's currently the middle of some sort of Kermit the Frog bender—while also throwing a ton of shade toward Miami Heat fans.

    Smith has always been controversial, and his Instagram feed is a perfect example of that.

Stefan Janoski

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    You may not know who Stefan Janoski is, but you should.

    Janoski is a professional skateboarder who also happens to spend a good chunk of his time designing and creating. He's an artist as much as he's a skater, and his best work has been displayed on the canvases of Nike shoes.

    His Instagram feed displays things that inspire him, stuff from everyday life and lots of kicks. If you aren't following him already, now's the time to start.

Nate Robinson

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    All hail Nate Robinson, the filter god.

    Robinson must have around 80 apps on his iPhone, because pretty much all of his pictures look like they've been put through the wringer and back. Who really wants boring pictures using real lighting when you can throw 15,000 filters on one and create Instagram art?

    At least we know now that no one does filters better than Nate Robinson.

Alex Morgan

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    Alex Morgan has become the face of women's soccer in the United States.

    Being the face of a sport just means that Instagram is an extension of your brand. Morgan is really good at making people believe that her life is exactly like the rest of ours, except for the fact that she plays professional soccer for a living.

    We can sit here and pretend that we don't paint pictures of people's personalities on social media, but that would be a lie.

    Based off Alex Morgan's Instagram, she seems like an awesome young lady who also can spin heads on a soccer field. It's hard not to be enthralled by a combination like that.

Johnny Manziel

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    There is no sports Instagram without Johnny Manziel.

    He's set the bar for celebrity collaboration shots, nights out on the town, and pictures with young ladies. Like Calipari, Manziel has been linked to Drake and other entertainers.

    Say the whole celebrity thing isn't your cup of Arnold Palmer. You can always watch Johnny and his friends throw footballs to each other riding on jet skis.

    The NFL may not be ready for Manziel. Luckily all of us on social media are more than up to the task.

DeMarcus Cousins

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    DeMarcus Cousins gets ragged on for having the body language of an eight-year-old kid who just lost a game of FIFA 14 to his older brother, but the guy can play ball.

    He put critics back in their place this season averaging 22.7 points per game and 11.7 rebounds a contest. The craziest part about Cousins is that he's only 23 years old, which means his prime is still a few years away.

    Thankfully, he's hit his prime on Instagram. Cousins keeps us informed on his life choices and even paid his respects to Metta World Peace's time with the Sacramento Kings.

    Boogie—as they call him—is without question worth a follow.

Mike Tyson

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    You would need one of the lawyers from Franklin & Bash to argue that Mike Tyson's Instagram game isn't top-notch.

    The former heavyweight champion of the world continues to rebuild his image by using social media. Tyson promotes his business ventures and fighters as well as showing off what he's been up to these days.

    Iron Mike has come a long way from tearing off Evander Holyfield's ear with his mouth. Now he's just an ex-knockout artist who's trying to get by with his 850,000 followers.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    When you're one of the top soccer players in the world, life is usually pretty good.

    Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo puts that theory on a pedestal thanks to the lens of his phone. Flashing helicopter rides, private jets and weird facial masks is clearly what it takes to impress his supermodel girlfriend, Irina Shayk.

    Ronaldo is a worldwide brand. Even in the United States his name carries weight. Following him on Instagram gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what keeps that brand running.

Joel Embiid

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    Who would have thought that former Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid would take over social media so early on into his NBA career.

    I mean, the guy hasn't even played a single minute in the league and he's already hit on Kim Kardashian, professed his love for Rihanna and even tried to recruit LeBron James to come play for the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Embiid is also already a savvy veteran when it comes to Instagram. Don't believe me? Check it for yourself.

Mario Balotelli

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    Let's just end this slideshow right now.

    AC Milan's Mario Balotelli is the king of Instagram. Forget everyone else, there's no one who can climb up to his level right now.

    Balotelli put the gemstones in his crown with the video featured above. Ironing your shirt and reading Zlatan Ibrahimovic's book while dancing is the way to become an Internet sensation.

    Balotelli has just one-upped everyone else. Which athlete is going to step up and make a play for the crown?

LeBron James

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    This isn't breaking or news or anything, but did you know LeBron James is going back to play ball for the Cleveland Cavaliers?

    Consider that whole "give everyone a Stone Cold stunner in the city of Cleveland and bail for Miami" thing just a horrible dream. King James got two championships for his decision and then figured it was time to come home.

    You may not be a LeBron fan, but no one is going to sit here and argue he isn't the most popular—and influential—player in the world.

    James' brand is strong. His Instagram feed proves that. Asking fans to pick the number he should wear for his return to the Cavs? That's brilliant marketing.

Tony Hawk

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    Tony Hawk has taken to Instagram to introduce his legend to a brand-new audience.

    If you grew up playing video games in the late '90s into the early 2000s, odds are you played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series—Hawk may have been in the game himself, but you weren't real unless you learned how to Casper slide with Kareem Campbell.

    Hawk was one of the main reasons skateboarding officially blew up in popularity. Now that he's 46 years old, we don't really get to see a ton of Tony. That's the biggest reason why his Instagram page has become so crucial.

    We all love a little nostalgia in our lives. Seeing what one of the best skaters of all time is up to on a regular basis makes us feel young again.

Victoria Azarenka

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    If Neymar is the king of selfies, tennis star Victoria Azarenka has to be the queen.

    The 24-year-old floods her stream with loads of selfies from wherever she happens to be that day. She may mix in a few random shots here and there. However, Azarenka's account is all about the selfie.

    Her best shot is featured above. Getting photobombed by tennis legend Billie Jean King is something few have ever achieved in the realm of social media.

Vernon Davis

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    You won't be blanketed by outrageous photos on Vernon Davis' account. It's mainly dedicated to art galleries, expensive toys and even pictures labeling which players he feels are the best in the NFL.

    Davis has come a long way since his troubled days with the team. Transforming from the guy who was sent to the locker room by former head coach Mike Singletary to the man he has become today has saved his career.

    Watching what he does in the offseason is what makes Davis a must-follow.

Kelly Slater

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    Professional surfer Kelly Slater is one of the only athletes around putting together a resume on Instagram that is strong enough to be featured in travel magazines.

    Slater's eye for nature is sharp. He's constantly tossing up pictures of majestic landscapes and pristine ocean shots.

    Throw in action shots of him surfing and you have yourself one of the most bodacious social media accounts in all of the land.

DeSean Jackson

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    Washington wide receiver DeSean Jackson is all about entertaining the fans.

    Off the field, Jackson always finds a way to keep people interested. Aside from the pictures he puts up showing off his new tattoos and the time he spent with the Jenner sisters he knows, Jackson is boys with TerRio.

    The young Internet overlord's time may be coming to an end, but Jackson was able to spend some quality time with the kid and post their adventures on Instagram last year. 

    Anytime you can do that, you automatically win the Internet.

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