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 2 of our five-part series, here are some Multimedia Maestros to aim your rabbit ears at. All follower counts as of Sept. 16, 2012:
Alan Hahn — Newsday's former Knicks beat writer recently made the transition to Knicks analyst on the MSG Network. MSG, of course, owns the Knicks; so we hope that will be able to keep a journalist's tone and touch behind the dial and hey everyone see that black helicopter?!?!
Andy Gray — The SI Vault isn't strictly limited to NBA photos, but because the NBA often leads the four major sports in importing and exporting "Silly," there are endless go-to NBA shots to post. It doesn't have to end at silly, of course, as the Vault is often the place to go for some breathtaking classic shots of NBA hoopsters from the Golden Age. (Pick your own "Golden Age," of course. We like the 1996-97 season. Hint, hint … Andy.)
Chris Vernon — The only local radio host (ESPN's fantastic Ryen Russillo is a national host, knows his hoops and advanced stats, but his Twitter feed is a little NFL-heavy) that both knows and understands advanced statistics. Best, though Vernon wasn't initially completely dismissive of such stats, he wasn't their biggest fan — and gradually grew to learn and understand them on record. A very cool transition to behold, from afar. He also gets great guests, knowledgeably grills them over 12th man acquisitions like few others, and is an engaging listen and Twitter follow.
Chris Webber — After a rough first year, Webber has quickly shot up the ranks to act as one of our favorite NBA analysts; both in the broadcast booth or stuck in a studio. He's able to boast a nice and light perspective without getting too loose with things, while bringing the heavy-handed tone when needed. A perfect balance, from a talented former player who had his Nike Air Huaraches firmly planted in both the Jordan and post-Jordan eras. On Twitter, Webber engages with fans and lets his followers know where his next on-air appearance will be; a needed heads-up on some nights.
Chuck Swirsky — Stuck in a Twitterscape with endless amounts of would-be comics attempting to out-dark each other (trust us, we follow and enjoy them all), the Bulls radio play by play is a beacon of positivity and good vibes. If you don't believe us, give him a follow and hang around for his first tweet of the day — it'll usually get you appreciating that sunrise (even if you've been up all night). Oh — and Chuck calls a heck of a game, too. He even interacts with fans during timeouts via his Twitter account.
David Locke — If Chris Vernon brings the advanced stats to the pregame mid-afternoon shift, David Locke represents in-game. The Jazz play by play man seemingly spends his summers at Synergy on an unending quest to bring his followers — Jazz fans or otherwise — the latest in overlooked scouting reports and statistical evaluation.
Jeff Wade — One of our favorites to follow during a game, Wade's tweets from the floor of the American Airlines Center during Mavericks games are rambunctious (rambunctious, I say!) and usually on-point. Funny and sharp, Wade also wins points for having his adorable kid in his Twitter avatar.
J.E. Skeets — The former Ball Don't Lie editor has been a ground-breaker in myriad ways, but his take to Twitter in July of 2008 helped usher in a wave of NBAniks that previously thought the service just another online distraction with a goofy name. It still is just that, actually, but it's made better for the presence of Skeets — who relays his team's own The Basketball Jones work with some of the Internet's finest daily works via re-tweet.
Jim Paschke — One of our favorite local play-by-play men, Paschke is a must-follow during the season for his work as the voice of the Bucks on Twitter, engaging with fans and media alike as the league navigates through what can be a slog of a season between autumn and spring. Also, this.
John Ireland — For a team with a rabid and often unhinged fan base, Laker fans are curiously surrounded by a group of even-keeled media types that tend to help keep things in check. Our look at the best of the NBA's newspaper industry was full of them, and Ireland (on radio or the sidelines) is no exception. Trips to Los Angeles (and that two-hour, 12-mile drive on the 405) are always tolerable because of Ireland's radio work, and his Twitter account reflects that.
Mark Boyle — Mark Boyle is hilarious, friends. Mark Boyle is very, very funny and you should follow this funny man because he is hilarious.
Matt Steinmetz — Steinmetz has done it all around the Warriors, working as a beat reporter, TV analyst, and now local radio host. His Twitter feed might be currently full of Raiders and Athletics-tinged tweets as he covers the Bay Area, but midseason his timeline is a must-view when the rest of the league settles in for the night and those nutty Warriors take to the court out on the left coast.
Mike Trudell — Smart dude, fine tweets, excellent coverage. Trudell's a great writer who does most of his work on the Lakers' home website, but he's hardly a homer on his way toward breaking down a team that we'll never tire of watching intelligent analysts break down.
Nate Jones — Jones brings a knowledgeable old-school approach to a new'ish format — his work in marketing the various clients under the Goodwin Sports representation umbrella never comes off as cloying or schlocky. Rather, he's a true student of the game (and, uh, law books and stuff), a former NBA blogger, and an unmitigated NBA must-follow.
NBA — Stands for "National Basketball Association."
Pete Pranica — Memphis' play-by-play man offers heaps of in-game and postgame insight, smart re-tweets, and plenty to follow during the regular season. During the offseason? Mostly cheerleaders and Mooncastles. Fine by us.
Ralph Lawler — For a while, there, some of us thought Ralph's Twitter account was a parody. No man should have all that smooth, we thought, as he drove into wine country with his lovely wife, cheerily tweeting away once he got there. Turns out, it is Lawler — one of the best play-by-play men of all time, as engaging a listen on air as he is a necessary follow on Twitter.
Rick Kamla — Owner of the finest avatar on Twitter. Possibly the inventor of LinkedIn.
Sean Grande — A funny, smart, growly sort of cat that not only calls a great game but comes through with a significant Twitter presence that we like a lot. Imagine Bill Burr, if he cleaned up his language by 98 percent and knew about the ins and outs of Doc Rivers' rotation and which 37-year old Celtic was limping that week.
Tas Melas — Because we covered Skeets' work with Twitter in his short bio above, here should be the spot where we mention how The Basketball Jones changed the game well before most of us listened to 12 podcasts a day. Tas and Skeets, for years, got up well before the crack of anything to allow us to download a spirited, intelligent, and typically hilarious take on the ins and outs of the NBA; usually posted by the time most of us got around to finishing our second cup of coffee. That sort of pro bono commitment took years to pay dividends, something to keep in mind while we watch Our Heroes chat it up on The Score or NBATV.
Also, the Melas family's Moo Milk Bar's Instagram photos are just so, so not fair to look at if you live outside of Toronto, and we hope Tas' next innovation is a way to send cookies via Direct Message.
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