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.

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%