"There are three z's in 'ringzzz,' Mom." (Getty Images)
The NBA is currently putting the "off" in its "offseason," which means it is time to recalibrate. Take the Windex to the TV, run your beer helmet through the dishwasher twice, send those retro jerseys to the dry cleaners, and check up on the correct spelling of "haterrrrz." Also, perhaps, update your Twitter follows, in order to make sure you've got everything in place that's needed to stay in touch with the NBA as training camp approaches.
Inspired by Sports Illustrated's initial "Twitter 100" (which will be updated on Wednesday), we've put together a collection of indispensable Twitter NBA must-follows — from Internet types to newspaper giants, cranks and rooters, people with brains bigger than ours, and the slicked-back on-camera folk. In the interest of fair play we've excluded all Yahoo! Sports Twitter accounts from the proceedings; but let's face it, you're definitely already following Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears. How would you have known about any trade or signing from the last four years if you weren't?
Following the jump, take a look at our list, as lovingly compiled by the Ball Don't Lie team of Kelly Dwyer, Dan Devine and Eric Freeman. We're sure we've overlooked a few, unintentionally, so we welcome your feedback in the comments or in 140 characters or less. Fly onward, blue birdies …
In Part 3 of our five-part series, here are some Internet Hounds to dial your 28.8k into. All follower counts as of Sept. 16, 2012:
Ananth Pandian — Rocketing up the charts with a bullet, were surprised to see that Ananth's follower count only numbered in the hundreds while beginning to compile this list. Which makes no sense, because he's a DIME Mag regular and a routinely interesting Twitter follow as he chats up ball. Let's change that number, friends.
Andrew Ungvari — Some Twitter feeds just stick out, and Drew's is amongst that lot. He boasts a dry sense of humor, he's quick with a quip on a re-tweet and his non-hoops related references are always appreciated. A Lakers fan in full, but a self-aware one. Or, as one member of BDL's staff put it, "not a pain in the ass jerk like most of them."
Bandwagon Knick -- Knicks-focused, but a feed regularly full of cut-through-columnist-nonsense insight and (sometimes statty) analysis of other teams as well. BK is a definite League Pass diehard, always a welcome sight when you're bombing around the TweetDeck, attempting to keep up with seven games at once.
Beckley Mason — A wry and knowledgeable analyst with a wit and patience needed to reign in both the chatty back and forth that is HoopSpeak Live, but your typical day-to-day NBA timeline.
Ben Golliver — Not only does he run Blazer's Edge, one of the more respected NBA fan sites out there, but Golliver contributes to CBS Sports and beats just about everyone to the punch with video on demand the next time some Golden State Warrior throws a shoe or Avery Johnson accidentally trips on the scorer's table. Golliver's the guy you want tapping away on the other end of your internet tube as the NBA sets into its typical weeknight.
Bill Simmons — Chafe at all things Sports Guy-sy that you want, but you can't ignore the man's influence and the sheer amount of NBA basketball that he watches and tweets about. Or what we think he tweets about it, at least, because Bill Simmons blocked the person writing this description over three years ago. Actually, maybe you can ignore it.
Brian Windhorst — The former Akron Beacon-Journal Cavs beat reporter made the logical move to covering the Miami Heat full time for ESPN when LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, and his Twitter feed keeps you in the loop like few others while LeBron and company make their way toward those seven championships. And, after hearing him on radio spots last season, we're hoping a radio or cable TV gig is in Windhorst's future — he was great in that on-air analyst's role.
BullsBlogger — A relative redwood amongst the blogging scene, around since Scott Skiles' first season as Bulls' coach and frustrated for just as many years, the Chicago diehard won't litter your Twitter columns with typical pro-red and black nonsense as he covers his Bulls. He also won't take on a defeatist attitude typical to most Chicago sports fans as a style or preferred tone. Even if Nate Robinson is his team's backup point guard.
BuzzFeedSports — Not a man but a feed. A buzzy feed, all full of interesting links and quips that, despite your aversion to cute kitten .gifs, is bound to be worth following as the season moves along. Also, if you have an aversion to cute kitten .gifs, we'd prefer it if you didn't follow this site. Because those are the best.
Chad Ford — For years Chad has sometimes gotten ahead of himself with scoops that didn't quite turn out, but he's a necessary follow around draft and trade deadline time. He's incredibly well-sourced, and has a deep knowledge of the league's collective bargaining agreement and exacting salary cap laws.
Chris Forsberg — He barely follows anyone, so you can tell that Chris is focused-focused-focused when it comes to covering the old men in green.
Chris Mannix — Chris is super-plugged in, especially when it comes to squads on the East Coast, and for those of you that still keep up with boxing he's a necessary follow. A voracious worker when it comes to covering the league.
Chris Sheridan — Sheridan is the sort of guy that would wear an American flag do-rag at a bar in France (and sunglasses … inside), so you've been warned, but his new site does feature quite a few very good writers, and Sheridan is a longtime pro coming off long stints at the Associated Press and ESPN.
Chris Tomasson — Tomasson has been around the game for a while and is always good for features and interviews with players. A mainstay with a significant resume.
Couper Moorhead — Smart, sound revelations about the Miami Heat. Moorhead knows the history of the game well and anticipates statistical trends expertly.
Darren Rovell — He truly does come off at times as an awful creep, and he should probably keep his casual misogyny, societal takes, and awful creepiness to himself instead of sharing with his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, but once in a while he'll drop a winner of a tweet that will keep you following him despite his awful creepiness. There are food pictures, as well.
Dave McMenamin — The Lakers beat reporter somehow keeps his sanity amongst the Western Conference's nuttiest team, and his edge despite the rather staid surroundings of his gig. McMenamin is always good for on the scene Kobe reports and in-game chatter, and he's a fantastic writer.
David Aldridge — Typically on point, wry and rife with perspective, Aldridge's columns for NBA.com remain must-read league-wise rollouts. His Twitter account breaks news, confirms leads, and offers the type of discourse you'd expect from a veteran of Aldridge's caliber. A giant, 'round these here parts.
Eddy Rivera — A Magic obsessed newcomer, Rivera's mix of advanced stat knowledge and straight- up-the-kilt Orlando observations make him a real comer.
Eric Pincus — Eric is Los Angeles-focused but a go-to scribe for the whole league, his salary updates and in-game relays are a boon for fans beyond Lakerdom and Clipperville.
Ethan Strauss — He may write for Bleacher Report, but Strauss' work is worth your clicking (and X'ing-out, and waiting for the ads to finishing scrolling), as is his appearances on HoopSpeak Live. He is a contrarian, though we kind of dig that.
Evan Dunlap — A damn fine writer and tweeter that deserves better than the hand he's been dealt in Orlando, Dunlap routinely outpaces most NBA writers with his observations in 140 or less. What's scary is that his best days as a scribe are ahead of him.
Gian Casimiro — A very funny cat who knows his New York Knicks and oddly remains criminally unfollowed.
Henry Abbott — Not a lot of chatter that falls outside of the ESPN umbrella, but Henry's tweets and the entire TrueHoop Network are a thrice-daily necessity for NBA fans. A titan in the industry and necessary follow.
Holly MacKenzie — Likely the queen of the NBA's Twitter community, Holly's positivity and clear writing gifts make her one of the first accounts for a fan to follow when they set up their accounts. An obvious "how do you do it?" example for young, would-be NBA scribes both in terms of tweeting and long form feature writing.
James Herbert — Hardwood Paroxysm's sage is a mindful tweeter and a master at re-tweeting things you may have missed the first time around.
Jessica Camerato — Even if her Twitter timeline merely served as a feed to her feature work she would be an important follow. Luckily it isn't, and Camerato's in-game and postgame work is top notch. She also tweets in Spanish, just to show off.
Straightbangin — That's right, straightbangin. Straight to follow him, no questions asked. The former Free Darko contributor wrote essays in each of the FD books, he's one of the sharpest Knicks fans out there, and a legitimately funny and insightful dude to follow on Twitter on things beyond basketball, as well.
Jonathan Abrams — Grantland's feature reporter is a masterful writer. An infrequent Twitter-er-er, to be sure, but one you must hang with.
Jonathan Givony — Not merely someone to latch on to in the days leading up to the draft lottery, Givony's expertise is to be followed year-round.
Kamenetzky Brothers — Brian and Andy cover the Lakers expertly, they dish in-game and from the post-practice scrum, and their Twitter feed is a necessity to link up to whether you loathe or love Kobe and co. Funny and smart and prolific.
Ken Berger — Columns, kid stories, breaking news, pre-column rumor guidance, and an endless stream of "how u" jokes that never get old. Seriously, they never get old. Why does everyone think I'm being sarcastic? Stop laughing at me — they never get old. I'm not poking fun. I'm serious, it never gets old. I hate the Internet, but love Ken Berger's Twitter account.
Kurt Helin — Seemingly hopped up on whatever kept Kerouac going while he pounded out 50,000 words a day, Helin's work at NBC is top quality and his tweet-work reflects that. A former Laker blogger, we love it when Kurt sneaks a bit of his Los Angeles fandom into his observances in 140 or less.
Kyle Weidie — Kyle is a very ,very, very good writer/tweeter covering a very, very, very bad team/franchise. His Twitter account reflects his Wizards blog, which manages to read as more of an all-around sports website instead of just a daily list of "what's up."
Lang Whitaker — Lang has moved on to several other literary pursuits since making waves with one of the first link dump blogs in the game over a decade ago at SLAM Online, and he's still a necessary follow for all things hoop-sy and otherwise.
Marcel Mutoni — SLAM's online chieftain is the rare Los Angeles Laker fan funny enough to get away with tossing down jokes and insults from the top of the mountain.
Marc Stein — It's the Stein Line, man! Breaks news, talks hoops, knows soccer, keeps it real. Stein Line, y'all. Stein Line. Full of scoops, a necessary follow.
Mark Medina — There's a reason a good 27 percent of Ball Don't Lie posts feature the phrase, "here's the story, taken from Mark Medina at the Los Angeles Times." Medina is everywhere in Lakerland, writing endless amounts about a fascinating team in super-super quick-quick time.
Matt Moore — Matt is as prolific on Twitter as he is with his column and blog work, but that ridiculous word count is born out of knowledge and a love for the game that he seems to cover on 98 percent of all available websites. This man obsesses over the game unlike just about anyone we've ever come across, and the game and the resulting community around it is better for his presence.
Mike Prada — Mike Prada. Sigh. Poor guy, terrible Wizards, terrific writer. Following his feed won't just lead you down the path toward all things Ernie Grunfeld-y, though, as Prada is the accomplished editor of SB Nation's NBA page, and a damn good general columnist.
Myles Brown — At times the funniest, sharpest wit you'll see for hours following your TweetDeck's churn, Brown is a long-suffering Timberwolves fan and ardent documenter of Minnesota's social scene.
Nick Flynt — Everyone's favorite fan, for now, until he is given his own site and pwns us all; Nick doesn't resort to silly internet tactics like using the "word" pwn, though. He's also freaky enough to have sponsored Jeff Foster's Basketball-Reference page.
Nick Friedell — The Bulls beat man covers every game and is a part of every scrum. A fantastic follow in the sense that he provides year-round fodder for a team that just can't help but stay in the news. And, to their fans' dismay, in the black.
Noam Schiller — Even in the fast-paced scroll of a chat box, some contributors stick out. And, for years, Noam's contributions to the chats at Ball Don't Lie and ESPN made him a memorable figure. He parlayed that into a deserved gig at Hardwood Paroxysm, and his Twitter work is top rank. There will also be chicken.
Oakley & Allen -- Somewhere between Charles and Woody, there's these guys, who make awesome videos of often obscure highlights and moments from the NBA's past set to always amazing hip-hop and soul records.
Paul Flannery — We almost mistakenly included Paul in our "Ink-Stained Wretches" list, partially because the man actually teaches journalism, but mostly because his thorough reporting just comes off so fabulously old school and excellent all around. A formidable talent, and must-follow tweeter.
Ric Bucher — He can be a bit antagonistic at times, but who out there among those that are attempting to break stories aren't? And when Ric's coiffed and powdered for his sideline work at ESPN, his in-game tweets from just outside the huddle are necessary reads. The former Warriors and Wizards beat man still gets to the heart of what counts.
Rob Mahoney — The dot com era's newest wunderkind can't be dismissed as a stats-obsessive marvel. Rather, his writing style and touch with words belie the relatively young age that Rob is probably already sick of hearing about. Nevertheless, it's going to be fascinating to watch Mahoney grow, on record, and his Twitter account is as good a place as any to observe his ascension.
Royce Young — A pro in every sense, Young can make the most mundane of day-to-day stories an engaging read; and not just because he has a fantastic team in the Thunder to cover. His CBS content is marvy, and his Twitter feed is something to latch onto as OKC readies itself for a tough Western Conference title defense.
Ryan Jones — Love Ryan Jones' work at SLAM. Love it, love it, love it. And his Twitter feed is a real cracker, full of quips and zings and all manner of ha-has. Cranky, careful and something no NBA fan should be declining to follow.
Sam Amick — Amick brings a beat writer's mentality into his column and Twitter work, he's constantly reporting and sourcing things, and he's turned into a monster of a scoop-stirrer since joining Sports Illustrated.
Sekou Smith — Just an all-around badass, Sekou's work has dotted several newspapers and SLAM Magazine, and now he serves as NBA.com's go-to blog voice. Smith's Twitter feed is a necessary component of your NBA fandom.
Seth Rosenthal — One member of BDL's staff considers Rosenthal "one of the five funniest people who tweets/writes about basketball in the world." The other two disagree. He's top-three, at least. The guy who said "top five" has been put on administrative leave. Follow Seth Rosenthal on Twitter.
Steve Aschburner — Aschburner has adapted to the Twitter age with ease. The longtime Minnesota Star Tribune beat reporter and columnist is currently turning in fantastic work at NBA.com, and his Twitter presence can be riotously funny while providing an insight that only 213 games worth of Felton Spencer in short-shorts can provide.
Tom Ziller — Is Tom Ziller perhaps the best NBA writer on the Internet? Possibly. Is he the finest Twitter follow amongst NBA scribes? Could be. Why does he have fewer than 100,000 followers? No idea.
Zach Harper — Just your perfect all-around NBA Twitter follow. Funny as hell, watches endless amounts of hoops, reads everything he can while appreciating influences both new and old.
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