Ranking the NBA's 20 Best Twitter Accounts
NBA Twitter is an awesome place to be—provided you're following the right people.
Ranking the league's best accounts demanded an incredibly scientific and arduous process: hours of my sifting through Twitter handles and timelines to subjectively crown the leading Twitter figures. (Complicated stuff, right?)
Every player and team Twitter is eligible for inclusion. Following and status do not matter when building this pecking order.
Unique interactions are our bread and butter. We want the most entertaining tweeters, bar none. LeBron James can be an avid Twitter user, but he seldom brings a noted pizzazz to the conversation—the palpable air of humor and randomness that makes poring over our timelines worthwhile.
Steven Adams @RealStevenAdams
Always a pleasure @okczoo Thank you @BancFirstOK for hooking it up #Sealfie https://t.co/RaJTBummrH2016-9-18 21:55:18
Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder (@RealStevenAdams)
Less retweeting, more pictures of sealfies, please.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (@)
These days, Antetokounmpo is too busy dominating the league at large to do anything more than hit "retweet" and, until recently, drum up his All-Star case. But maybe he'll be more liberal and candid again sometime in the near future (fingers crossed).
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (@)
Come for the 34-plus million followers, stay for the possibility LeBron James will subtweet teammates about the importance of fitting out versus fitting in.
Paul Pierce is still the uncle who's trying to be hip by using Twitter and kind of failing. He posted pictures of a New England Patriots hat throughout their AFC Championship victory—not of his face while wearing it, just the hat itself. And he tweeted about Homeland.
Here's hoping he never changes—and to more epic emoji fails in the future.
Memphis Grizzlies (@)
If there was a Most Improved Twitter award for NBA teams, the Memphis Grizzlies would be this year's runaway favorite.
20. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz (@rudygobert27)
Rudy Gobert @rudygobert27
Excited to face this guy tonight! #gameday https://t.co/wRvrOlUmhP2016-11-11 17:51:27
Do you like sub-140-character recaps of Utah Jazz games?
Are you trying to learn French?
Is there a dearth of one-time Dragon Ball Z references in your timeline?
Can you see the value of tweeting out photoshopped pics of Evan Fournier's crappy NBA 2K headshot?
If you answered "yes" to one of those four questions, Rudy Gobert's Twitter is for you.
19. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers (@BenSimmons25)
Ben Simmons @BenSimmons25
#RaiseThecat https://t.co/428xMu9bLp2017-1-21 20:17:11
He who doth participate in #RaiseTheCat must taketh a spot on this list.
Sorry, but I don't make the rules.
Aside from using Twitter to document his kitty military presses, Ben Simmons has fully engulfed himself in "The Process"—despite never meeting Sam Hinkie or actually suiting up for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Imagine what he'll tweet once he's back on the court helping the Sixers steal the Eastern Conference's No. 8 seed and then upset the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.
18. Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers)
Philadelphia 76ers @sixers
(•_•) <) )╯#NBAVote / \ \(•_•) ( (> Joel / \ (•_•) <) )> Embiid / \ https://t.co/O632dXQtxi2017-1-12 16:14:57
Certain NBA teams that aren't winning games in excess might play it safe on "The Twitter Machine." Not the Sixers, though.
You have to give the Sixers credit for embracing Joel Embiid's quirky, oft-risque personality as well.
Where some squads might not deliver footage of him frolic-bombing the team's dancers after the final buzzer, they have no qualms about chronicling Joel being Joel. The Sixers get endless bonus points for writing out "50" in pizza emojis whenever they earn their fans half-off at Papa John's.
17. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies (@MarcGasol)
Marc Gasol @MarcGasol
What it felt like, and what it looked like... #ibeliveicanfly #notreally #gravity https://t.co/nkdWl8yx792017-1-21 16:22:42
When he does journey off the beaten path, Gasol isn't afraid to be self-deprecating. His Space Jam reference was a work of art, and let's not pretend we all aren't hopelessly in love with his Conor McGregor strut.
Best of all: He is not above retweeting himself, definitely proving* he's just like regular social media users who will do their damnedest to get clickz.
*Note: This actually proves nothing.
16. Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies (@aa000G9)
Tony Allen @aa000G9
Tony Allen's Twitter timeline has it all—including a video of his trolling the NBA's new All-Star voting process.
Your eyes don't deceive you. Allen actually tallied ballots for Luke Babbitt, Michael Beasley, James Ennis and Mo Williams. And then he tabbed himself for All-Star duty, after explicitly saying he wasn't an All-Star.
Keep building up that social media brand, Tony. It's very dope.
15. Kyle O'Quinn, New York Knicks (@Kyle_OQuinn)
Kyle O'Quinn @Kyle_OQuinn
Years from now, elders will tell tales of a New York Knicks role player named Kyle O'Quinn who perplexed the masses with coded tweets.
How O'Quinn has under one jillion followers is beyond comprehension. His timeline is a drunken party game waiting to happen.
Take the above cipher: KOLGBOT!!!!!. This is clearly O'Quinn-speak for: "Kristaps ordered linguini-goat bread on Thursday!!!!!
Then there's this from Jan. 24: IGCITM!!! In other words: "I got Carmelo into Tobey Maguire!!!"
And then we have this from Nov. 17: HTHYWKOTB? Translation: "How the hell you watching Kendra on Top, Brandon?"
14. Golden State Warriors (@warriors)
mood. https://t.co/KcanuMtYx82017-1-19 06:01:48
The Golden State Warriors' Twitter clout is too profoundly awesome to accurately convey in this space.
Draymond Green forces a steal? There's an Aziz Ansari GIF for that, too.
Ian Clark is getting buckets? Damn it if there isn't a creepy GIF of Clark for this moment as well.
Basketball Twitter is always at its best when teams and players don't take themselves too seriously. The Warriors do a great job of having fun.
13. Chandler Parsons, Memphis Grizzlies (@ChandlerParsons)
Self-deprecating humor must be a Memphis Grizzlies thing.
Chandler Parsons is one of Twitter's good guys. He interacts with fans, promotes Larry Bird highlight videos, mocks his athleticism on layups and is on record asking Santa Claus for fewer knee injuries.
Oh, he's also a self-admitted dog guy.
And if we can't recognize a dude for pointing out cats are overrated, what's the point of our existence?
12. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (@Dame_Lillard)
Damian Lillard @Dame_Lillard
Do people go to the club on Christmas Eve? Lol2016-12-25 04:50:36
In addition to peddling his music and fulfilling endorsement obligations, he holds the more-than-occasional conversation with fans and cops to the Portland Trail Blazers' problems while calling out keyboard warriors.
"I play on the team," he tweeted Jan. 17 in response to a particularly ignorant troll. "Of course I'm part of the problem."
Throw in "#4BarFriday" participation and dedication to figuring out proper party practice around the holidays, and Lillard keeps his feed fresh enough to earn top-12 marks.
11. Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City Thunder (@Enes_Kanter)
Enes Kanter @Enes_Kanter
I ain't gonna join the enemy I'm here to compete https://t.co/2Elu93b4P52016-8-4 16:09:12
Enes Kanter is pretty good at Twitter.
Or practicing his free throws behind an omelette station.
Or taking shots at every NBA All-Star who doesn't call Oklahoma City his (regular-season) home.
"Triple-Doubles," he tweeted Jan. 19. "All-Star starters (COMBINED)= 19. Russ = 21. Nobody deserves to start in the all star game over Russ."
10. Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics (@Isaiah_Thomas)
Isaiah Thomas @Isaiah_Thomas
Fuel to the fire took it higher than they ever seen2017-1-20 15:49:23
Twitter timelines that are filled with inspirational quotes can get tired pretty quickly.
Isaiah Thomas' jam is an exception.
Maybe it's because he blends the 140-character motivational posters with fan interaction and at least one obscure movie review. Or perhaps it's because, on Dec. 29, he tweeted: "When the funk really go down, who's really ready to ride?"
On second thought, it's probably just because Thomas has a point. He's constantly slighted for his size and drafty-day status from more than five years ago. He's overlooked as a superstar—as a legitimate cornerstone.
Just look at the Eastern Conference's All-Star starting lineup. You know Thomas did. You also know he's using that snub—reserve duty or not—to stoke the infernal drive that's carried him this far.
9. Dwyane Wade, Chicago Bulls (@DwyaneWade)
Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul are wholly predictable and brand-driven on the Twitterz. LeBron James branches out a bit, but he isn't far behind them. Wade is a different beast on social media.
Sure, he has more than 6.2 million Twitter followers. But that doesn't stop him from rapping with fans, apologizing for losses, reminiscing about the good old days or posting a photo of himself in the Hamburglar's winter coat.
If there's time, Wade will even eviscerate the New York Daily News' Frank Isola for misspelling his name while commenting on the food-chain relationship between bears and humans.
Who says the NBA's "senior citizens" can't win at Twitter?
8. C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers (@CJMcCollum)
CJ McCollum @CJMcCollum
#NBAVOTE @zaza272017-1-15 19:35:32
C.J. McCollum's Twitter timeline is proof players pay attention.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich candidly riffed on president Donald Trump. McCollum helped promote it.
Heavy snowfall threatened to impact the NBA's Jan. 7 slate. McCollum informed us of how much he loves extended naps.
The fine people of Georgia (the country) tried to get Zaza Pachulia into the All-Star Game. McCollum did his part to help.
Variety on social media is a great thing, and McCollum has one of the most well-rounded Twitter accounts in the game.
7. Andre Iguodala (@andre)
Andre Iguodala @andre
I really be lying in my interviews2016-12-9 07:06:04
Context is optional when sifting through Andre Iguodala's Twitter feed.
There are the tweets with unmistakable meaning, such as his Jan. 22 gem: "Heads up...anybody wish me a happy bday getting blocked b..." (Don't worry, someone already responded with a picture of him being blocked by LeBron James in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.)
But then there are the more random tweets, like this Jan. 15 anecdote: "Overheard...I wuldve told dude 'you might as well not run the rest of the game because I promise a won't a nan-nutter pass be coming yo way.'"
Or this doozy from Oct. 21: "A nice size plate kesha..." (It's a mistyped Menace II Society shoutout...I think. It's safe to say Iggy watches a bunch of movies.)
By the way: If you're looking to keep track of when He Got Game leaves and returns to Netflix, Iguodala is your boi.
6. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers (@JCrossover)
Jamal Crawford @JCrossover
"@WillDaBeast007: @JCrossover you gonna aim to score 50 before it's all said and done?"--you don't aim for it, those things just flow !2017-1-17 22:54:59
Jamal Crawford's engagement level on Twitter is not to be outdone. He routinely fields questions from his 900,000-plus followers and almost always offers thoughtful answers.
The window Twitter provides into a person's identity is debatable. Can you ever truly know someone because you follow their 140-character thoughts?
But Crawford comes off as a genuinely good dude. He sends well-wishes to injured players, updates us on the length of his hair, alerts us when he's about to fire off some unsystematic thoughts and retweets stories in which he's tagged.
Plain and simple: He uses Twitter in a way that makes the fans feel involved and us social media stalkers feel like we know him. That's solid Twitter-ing.
5. Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers)
Trail Blazers @trailblazers
Waiting for Wednesday like... https://t.co/2sTOnoe8VT2017-1-23 19:28:02
The mark of a good NBA Twitter account is how it's presented when things aren't going according to plan. It's safe to say sitting miles below .500 and barely contending for a playoff spot wasn't the Blazers' plan.
And yet, one of the best NBA Twitters trudges on.
Fictional bonus points were also doled out en masse because the Blazers made an #AlternativeFacts joke.
Even more of these meaningless bumps were awarded for Portland retweeting the official account of Jake Layman's hair.
4. JaVale McGee, Golden State Warriors (@JaValeMcGee34)
Javale McGee @JaValeMcGee34
If someone puts their hand up on your hip, what is the appropriate response?2017-1-19 19:36:35
Before you say JaVale McGee's Twitter isn't top-four material, I beg you to keep your mouth shut.
Because you're wrong.
And forcing us to consider hypothetical real-life scenarios involving humongous snakes and $1 million?
And tweeting videos of teammates watching his mid-game gaffes in front of him?
McGee is a Twitter rarity. Cherish him.
3. Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings)
Sacramento Kings @SacramentoKings
This one's for the Land... https://t.co/GiJ2wSEoOZ2017-1-26 02:59:10
Sacramento's timeline is littered with videos of DeMarcus Cousins, quarter and game recaps, DeMarcus Cousins, GIFs of head coach Dave Joerger, DeMarcus Cousins and more DeMarcus Cousins. You know, the predictable stuff.
On a more impressive note: The Kings top the league in fan interaction on Twitter, per Jan Boehmer, a communications professor at Penn State University. That basically means Sacramento has the NBA's most thoughtful Twitter account.
Double props for that.
2. Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks)
The Atlanta Hawks are straight fire on Twitter.
They "like" fan tweets. They know how to handle legitimately tough situations with class and humor (see: Kyle Korver trade).
They pump up Kris Humphries' explosiveness in transition.
Look, this isn't hard: Any team that recaps its season in emoji form deserves our unconditional internet love.
1. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (@JoelEmbiid)
Joel Embiid @JoelEmbiid
WOWWW RT @realDonaldTrump Joel Embiid #NBAVote2017-1-5 21:12:36
As if someone other than Joel Embiid was ever going to nab the No. 1 spot.
Here are some his greatest (more recent) hits:
- Parlayed his longstanding—and, as far as we know, unreciprocated—crush on Rihanna into more than 53,000 All-Star votes.
- Coaxed former Sixers general manager/author of The Process Sam Hinkie into getting him another 17,000 ballots.
- Capitalized on Donald Trump's Twitter presence to the tune of nearly 18,000 more All-Star votes.
- Changed his avatar to side-by-side photos of Michael Jordan and T.J. McConnell celebrating game-winning shots.
- Put the idea that Philly can make the playoffs this season in our heads...and being totally serious about it.
- Tags any tweet of real interest with "#TrustTheProcess."
The list goes on and can be expanded to include his legendary postgame Instagram locations.
So whether or not you're sold on Embiid's immediate claim to stardom, we can all agree he is the MVP of Twitter MVPs.