Top Athlete-Driven NBA Teams


NBA players and their teams are consistently some of the strongest in the world on social. Thanks in large part to a combination of star power and quality content, these athletes build massive audiences and drive engagement that tops North American sports.

While many leagues are embracing the value of athlete-driven social strategies, few have done it better than the NBA. The league’s innovative philosophy embraces online media, encouraging the teams and players to share game highlights straight to their feeds. This position has established a mutually beneficial situation for the game, its teams, and the players themselves.

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This report  —  focused on the performance of NBA players grouped by their respective teams — shows how star power, up-and-coming talent, and consistent activity can impact an entire team’s performance on social.

Teams with the highest totals for athlete audience size, engagements, and video views are largely led by some of the sport’s biggest stars  — LeBron with the Lakers, Golden State’s “big four,” and Houston’s James Harden-Chris Paul tandem all drive big results.

The Nets lack a large player audience size, but their league-leading activity level plays a significant role in earning the NBA’s highest athlete engagement rate at almost 9 percent. Meanwhile, Philadelphia and Boston are climbing almost every chart, being powered by their rapidly growing young talent.

While the NBA is already an industry leader, more innovation is sure to come. That means more streaming options, more personalized experiences for fans, and more athlete-driven content going straight from the floor to your favorite players’ feeds.

The NBA's top athlete-driven teams

Below is our NBA team ranking based on the players’ performance on social.  The analysis includes Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter data for all active NBA players from September 18, 2018 to January 11, 2019.

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Athlete audience by team

Los Angeles Lakers — 140.5 million followers
Golden State Warriors — 109.4 million followers
Houston Rockets — 61.2 million followers
Oklahoma City Thunder — 39.7 million followers
Miami Heat — 36.6 million followers
Boston Celtics — 30.3 million followers
Washington Wizards — 25.8 million followers
San Antonio Spurs — 25.3 million followers
Minnesota Timberwolves — 23.9 million followers
Cleveland Cavaliers — 23.4 million followers

Athlete activity by team

Brooklyn Nets — 1,864 posts
Portland Trail Blazers — 1,642 posts
Los Angeles Lakers — 1,502 posts
Utah Jazz — 1,234 posts
Los Angeles Clippers — 1,144 posts
New York Knicks — 1,129 posts
Cleveland Cavaliers — 1,091 posts
Denver Nuggets — 1,065 posts
Sacramento Kings — 931 posts
Detroit Pistons — 921 posts

Athlete engagements by team

Los Angeles Lakers — 165.7 million engagements
Golden State Warriors — 46.7 million engagements
Oklahoma City Thunder — 33.2 million engagements
Houston Rockets — 23.5 million engagements
Philadelphia 76ers — 22.4 million engagements
Miami Heat — 20 million engagements
Cleveland Cavaliers — 16.3 million engagements
Portland Trail Blazers — 13.1 million engagements
Boston Celtics — 12.6 million engagements
Sacramento Kings — 11.7 million engagements

Athlete engagement rate by team

Brooklyn Nets — 8.87%
Los Angeles Lakers — 8.44%
Philadelphia 76ers — 6.25%
Oklahoma City Thunder — 5.34%
Chicago Bulls — 5.15%
Dallas Mavericks — 4.76%
Los Angeles Clippers — 4.41%
Boston Celtics — 4.26%
Golden State Warriors — 4.24%
Atlanta Hawks — 4.19%

Athlete growth by team

Los Angeles Lakers — 7.5 million followers
Golden State Warriors — 2.6 million followers
Oklahoma City Thunder — 1.8 million followers
Philadelphia 76ers — 1.6 million followers
Houston Rockets — 1.3 million followers
Dallas Mavericks — 1.1 million followers
Boston Celtics — 927.6 thousand followers
Miami Heat — 876.8 thousand followers
Milwaukee Bucks — 697.5 thousand followers
Sacramento Kings — 551.4 thousand followers

Athlete growth rate by team

Philadelphia 76ers — 9.40%
Milwaukee Bucks — 8.46%
Dallas Mavericks — 6.05%
Sacramento Kings — 5.80%
Los Angeles Lakers — 5.65%
Los Angeles Clippers — 5.43%
Orlando Magic — 4.88%
Oklahoma City Thunder — 4.79%
Indiana Pacers — 3.99%
Portland Trail Blazers — 3.70%

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