Kobe Bryant doesn't do anything without thinking it through and putting serious work into it, so it's no surprise that in roughly two weeks' time, the Los Angeles Lakers' legend is already closing in on one million followers on Twitter.
Though it took Bryant some time to warm up to the idea of giving a piece of himself to the masses through live updating, the 34-year-old hasn't disappointed his fans or the media.
He's been engaging, transparent and even comedic at times. His profile offers insight into one of the most enigmatic figures in the world of sports. Only social media can provide that level of access. Those points above can be considered basic criteria for being a good Twitter follow, but some NBAers go above and beyond the call of cyber-duty and appeal to more than hardcore basketball fans.
So for that reason, it's worth exploring where Bryant ranks among his NBA peers when it comes to being a worthy follow.
Here are the top 25 active NBA players on Twitter:
Honorable mention: Shaquille O'Neal (@Shaq)
He's not active in the league any longer, but if you're not following The Diesel, you need to do so immediately.
No. 25 Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41)
The former league MVP does just enough on Twitter to crack this list. He's like a high-priced sports car when it comes to social media. He's great when he's on the road, but he's in the garage far too often.
No. 24 Nate Robinson (@nate_robinson)
And here is the BREAKING MAVS VIDEO NEWS: on.nba.com/VUL9Wf- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) January 13, 2013
The NBA's most incredible (and perhaps most forgotten) athlete is terrific on Twitter. He's as active on the platform as he is on the court, amassing over 12,000 tweets with over 750,000 followers. He loves his hometown of Seattle and he'll let you know it with frequent shout-outs to the 206.
Lamar Odom may be one of the nicest guys in the NBA, and it shows through in his timeline. Plus, he married a Kardashian, which gives him instant "tweet-cred" among non-sports fans.
As the NBA gets younger, expect the general interactions of NBA players and fans on Twitter to get better. Damian Lillard is all over the social network with 5,327 tweets and nearly 100,000 followers and counting as of his rookie season.
As he's enjoying success on the court, expect him to improve his tweet game as well.
No. 21 Baron Davis (@Baron_Davis)
Great win. You would think my sister was excited but all she cared about was meeting @kingjames ...- Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) January 11, 2013
As an L.A. native living and tweeting about New York life and the Knicks, he's got bi-coastal perspective that appeals to a wide audience. Davis has partnered with Steve Nash to create some comedic gold, and he's just a good dude. You get some of all of it when you follow The Baron, but mostly Knicks stuff.
His personality transcends the sport, and he's down-to-earth. Seriously, how do you not get with this guy? He's a goofball, but he's our goofball thanks to Twitter.
This was wonderful:
No. 19 Nick Collison (@nickcollison4)
Save The Centersyoutube.com/watch?v=_WxjuP…- Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) December 18, 2012
Everyone nowadays knows what life looks like as an NBA superstar. Those guys get profiled all the time. But what about the NBA role player? What's it like to make an seven-figure income and not have nearly as much fame as your high profile teammates? What does a guy who really has some free time outside of the NBA arena do on the regular?
To find out, give the former KU star a follow to find out what that life is like. If Collison's timeline is at all like his real life, it's terrific.
It's no surprise that one of the NBA's best at dishing out assists also does an incredible job of it on social media. He's not a "me" guy by any stretch, often giving love to his teammates, peers around the NBA, his family and fans. Basically anyone but himself. It's that same selflessness that makes him a great player and follow.
D-Wade is a superstar, and it's always nice when you couldn't tell as much by following him. He does more than the status quo, and like some of his peers on this list, he makes an effort to connect with people.
But his real contribution is his philosophical side. He's written a book on fatherhood and it's changed his perspective on life. That's neat to see.
Gasol is widely respected in the Greater Los Angeles area, but even more so around the world. Though he's fully entrenched in the Southern California lifestyle, he hasn't forgotten where he came from, regularly sending tweets as simulcasts in both English and Spanish. Who needs Rosetta Stone?
No. 15 Steve Nash (@stevenash)
Muy contento de haber podido entrenar hoy! Great to be back at practice with the team today! instagr.am/p/Uj0e9An2LX/- Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 16, 2013
Steve Nash is hilarious, but you probably wouldn't know it unless you got telecasts of "Backstage Lakers" on TWC Sports Net in the Lakers' media market. But if you are a Twitter-savvy NBA fan, then you are fortunate enough to have his wonderful Twitter account available to peruse.
Oh, and the things you'll find. He produces and shares crazy self-produced videos, performing his own wild stunts around town. This guy is definitely going Hollywood when his playing days are over. He's a little busy these days trying to pull the Lakers out of NBA purgatory in the standings, but he'll ramp it up in the summer.
Wow! Thanks for all the love everyone. Especially all the teammates that made me look good through the years. But....we need a win...bad.- Steve Nash (@SteveNash) January 9, 2013
No. 14 Quincy Acy (@quincyacy)
Quincy Acy has yet to make a name for himself in the league, but this wonderful number helped put him on the map (hat-tip to SB Nation). Also, he's already rivalied James Harden's beard.
He's a great player to follow because he's candid and not too big to really let fans in, often sharing his experiences as a father with those who follow him.
No. 13 Rajon Rondo (@rajonrondo)
These people have been using a jackhammer in my building since 10am... I'm bout to go crazy.- Quincy Acy (@QuincyAcy) January 16, 2013
He dishes out crazy dimes and can cook up some mean shrimp tacos in what looks like a nice kitchen. He's all about sharing pictures and videos, which makes the experience of following him extremely worthwhile.
No. 12 Amar'e Stoudemire (@amareisreal)
Making shrimp tacos twitter.com/RajonRondo/sta…- Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) January 16, 2013
He's an NBA veteran and a Twitter aficionado, and it shows. The New York Knicks star is deep. He's not your typical athlete where he's going to give you a bunch of fluff about how excited he is to go to his favorite store. The man wrote a book, and he shared this on Twitter with his fans. Fantastic.
Kevin Love is a favorite for many because he tweets out a lot of interesting pictures. He gives running commentary on sporting events and chronicled quite well the exploits of Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics.
Kevin Durant is another superstar who makes time for everyone. He replies to fans often and also gives his take on other major stories around the sports world. It's always fun for fans to see what one star thinks about another across sports. He's got a nice fun side that you don't often get to see on the court as well.
No. 9 Jeremy Lin (@jlin7)
BBW...bounce back win not basketball wives lol- Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 10, 2013
Linsanity may have quieted down, but his account gives the world access to a bright and insightful young player who has been through a whirlwind of emotions over the past few years. As you would expect from a Harvard grad, he's funny -- in a smart way.
Why is Kobe Bryant so high on the list in less than two weeks of his account's existence? He's finally letting us in, and that's all any fan has ever wanted of one of the sports world's most mysterious figures off the floor (are you reading this, Tiger Woods?). The NBA's most enigmatic figure summed it all up with his first tweet:
No. 7 Deron Williams (@deronwilliams)
The antisocial has become social #mambatweets- Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 4, 2013
The Brooklyn Nets point guard is all about giving, and as the 2012-13 season has seen he and his team struggle, he's quieted down his social media activity considerably. Still, when he gets going again, you'll be glad you followed him.
The San Diego native and Phoenix Suns' swingman is a player who has a bright future when his career is over. Why? He's quick-witted and thoughtful as well as funny. And he retweets a lot, meaning you'll get some run if you catch him at the right time. He's also a game historian:
No. 5 Metta World Peace (@mettaworldpeace)
RT @sbnationnba: The fastest player to 20K points was Wilt Chamberlain with only 499 games. LeBron is at his 726th. (Wow)- Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) January 17, 2013
You'll have to spend a few minutes decoding some of his tweets, but when you do, it will be glorious. He loves contests, so his followers always have a chance to win something interesting. And this:
If engaging fans is important criteria for being a good follow, then the Clippers' sharpshooter nails it for this reason alone. Want proof? He gave away tickets to consecutive road games in Memphis and Houston and Minnesota in January.
Maybe it's the warm air, but Blake Griffin is yet another L.A. baller that knows his way around the Twittersphere. He once Tweeted to DirecTV because he couldn't watch "Workaholics". Not only did he get a response, but the dispute between the network and Viacom was settled soon after the interaction. Of course, he tweeted of the victory, telling his followers, "Everyone. We did it."
JaVale McGee might as well be the eighth wonder of the world. He's a 7-foot walking question mark, but his timeline is pure entertainment. Much like with World Peace, users will have to learn how to speak his dialect. But don't be alarmed, it's a beautiful, glorious language.
McGee tweets constantly and hooks fans up with food, tickets and genuine one-on-one interaction. An example? He recently offered to buy 10 lucky fans lunch at a Denver Chipotle. The best part of it all? He constantly retweets himself for no apparent reason.
So confusing, yet so good.
No. 1 LeBron James (@KingJames)
RT @javalemcgee34 BEEN GOIN TO THE GAME EARLY FOR 3 YEARS NOW!- JaVale McGee (@JaValeMcGee34) January 16, 2013
For all of the heat (no pun intended) James has taken over his bad "Decision", the world's best player is also one of pro sports' best tweeters.
He's a superstar who transcends the game, but on the social network, he's just a 28-year-old sports fan who loves to have a good time, chop it up with his high profile friends, and occasionally make someone's day (or year) with a retweet. James truly is the NBA's King of Twitter.
Think the author missed someone? Let him know about it on (where else?) Twitter @MikeJonesTweets.
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He contributes regularly to SB Nation and Examiner.com. He is also the Editor of Sports Out West.
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