The NBA’s Social MVPs

NBA

The King has arrived in Los Angeles, the offseason is over, and NBA basketball is back in our lives.

Over the offseason, basketball’s top players took to social to build their brands beyond the hardwood. With a following more than double the size of any other player, LeBron James continues to outpace the league in terms of engagement and audience.

The biggest winners, however, may not have been the league’s seasoned vets. Several of the up-and-coming young stars —specifically Kyle Kuzma, Jayson Tatum, and Ben Simmons —  were able to capture momentum from their early on-court success to build strong followings and share their offseason experiences with their audience.

As a whole, the NBA’s most-followed stars outpace their peers in major U.S. sports, including the NFL, in terms of audience size, activity, total engagements, and growth. The players are catching up with and even surpassing their teams’ efforts on social. With nearly 100 million total engagements, LeBron more than doubled the closest performance of the most engaging team, the Golden State Warriors.

Golden State led the league and players in total video views, with LeBron coming in second. He topped the second-place team, his Lakers, in views — 68 million to 45 million — despite sharing just 21 videos to the Lakers’ 486.

While LeBron is an outlier even for NBA players, he illustrates the league’s power on social. 50 of basketball’s top players surpassed one million video views and 66 produced more than one million engagements. The NBA may very well be the most athlete-driven league in American sports, and there’s no slowing down in sight.

 
 
 
 
 
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Can’t even front, it’s just felt different! Goosebumps! #striveforgreatness? #thekidfromakron?

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

The NBA’s athlete-driven MVPs

Below is the performance analysis for the NBA’s 50 most-followed players on social. We break down the data by audience, activity, engagement, and growth on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram from June 8, 2018, to October 16, 2018. These are the NBA’s strongest brands on social.

Audience

LeBron James — 108.2 million followers
Stephen Curry — 43.2 million followers
Kevin Durant — 38.1 million followers
Dwayne Wade — 30.5 million followers
Russell Westbrook — 22 million followers

TWITTER

LeBron James — 41.9 million followers
Kevin Durant — 17.5 million followers
Stephen Curry — 12.9 million followers
Carmelo Anthony — 9.2 million followers
Dwyane Wade — 7.9 million followers

FACEBOOK

LeBron James — 23.2 million followers
Dwyane Wade — 11 million followers
Derrick Rose — 10.6 million followers
Kevin Durant — 10.4 million followers
Stephen Curry — 8.2 million followers

INSTAGRAM

LeBron James — 43.2 million followers
Stephen Curry — 22.2 million followers
Kyrie Irving — 12.2 million followers
Dwyane Wade — 11.6 million followers
Russell Westbrook — 11.3 million followers

Activity

Dwyane Wade — 515 posts
Isaiah Thomas — 364 posts
Pau Gasol — 334 posts
Damian Lillard — 313 posts
Serge Ibaka — 299 posts

TWITTER

Dwyane Wade — 324 posts
Isaiah Thomas — 305 posts
Damian Lillard — 192 posts
Kyle Kuzma — 186 posts
Pau Gasol — 177 posts34.4

FACEBOOK

Pau Gasol — 117 posts
Pau Gasol — 117 posts
Russell Westbrook — 67 posts
Lonzo Ball — 65 posts
LeBron James — 62 posts

INSTAGRAM

Dwyane Wade — 153 posts
JR Smith — 122 posts
Damian Lillard — 108 posts
Ben Simmons —105 posts
Serge Ibaka — 84 posts

Engagement

LeBron James — 99.9 million engagements
Stephen Curry — 41.1 million engagements
Dwyane Wade — 23.9 million engagements
Ben Simmons — 17.3 million engagements
Russell Westbrook — 15 million engagements

TWITTER

LeBron James — 5.7 million engagements
Kyle Kuzma — 3.4 million engagements
Stephen Curry — 1.9 million engagements
Joel Embiid — 1.8 million engagements
Dwyane Wade — 1.7 million engagements

FACEBOOK

LeBron James — 1.6 million engagements
Russell Westbrook — 510 thousand engagements
Klay Thompson — 441 thousand engagements
Stephen Curry — 174 thousand engagements
Paul Gasol — 169 thousand engagements

INSTAGRAM

LeBron James — 92.7 million engagements
Stephen Curry — 39 million engagements
Dwyane Wade — 22 million engagements
Ben Simmons — 17.3 million engagements
James Harden — 14.5 million engagements

Engagement Rate

*min 18 posts
Jayson Tatum — 5.29%
Kyle Kuzma — 5.20%
Brandon Ingram — 5.08%
Ben Simmons — 5.03%
DeMar DeRozan — 4.93%

TWITTER

Brandon Ingram — 5.90%
Kyle Kuzma — 4.42%
Lonzo Ball — 3.69%
Joel Embiid — 2.61%
Jayson Tatum — 2.41%

FACEBOOK

Jayson Tatum — 2.23%
Giannis Antetokounmpo — 1.04%
Kyle Kuzma — .75%
Klay Thompson — .55%
Gordon Hayward — .51%

INSTAGRAM

DeMar DeRozan — 11.47%
Jayson Tatum — 10.39%
Kyle Kuzma — 9.55%
Lonzo Ball — 6.65%
Giannis Antetokounmpo — 6.62%

Growth

LeBron James — 5 million followers
Stephen Curry — 1.8 million followers
Russell Westbrook — 762 thousand followers
Ben Simmons — 717.9 thousand followers
Lonzo Ball — 662.5 thousand followers

TWITTER

Stephen Curry — 213.4 thousand followers
Kyle Kuzma — 126 thousand followers
LeBron James — 103.1 thousand followers
Kyrie Irving — 102.3 thousand followers
Joel Embiid — 102.2 thousand followers

FACEBOOK

James Harden — 53.2 thousand fans
Kyrie Irving — 49.4 thousand fans
Jayson Tatum — 31 thousand fans
Klay Thompson — 23.8 thousand fans
Kyle Kuzma — 16.9 thousand fans

INSTAGRAM

LeBron James — 4.9 million followers
Stephen Curry — 1.6 million followers
Russell Westbrook — 716.4 thousand followers
Dwyane Wade — 668.3 thousand followers
Ben Simmons — 657.6 thousand followers

Growth Rate

Kyle Kuzma — 29.45%
Jayson Tatum — 29.41%
Ben Simmons — 19.43%
Giannis Antetokounmpo — 14.26%
Joel Embiid — 13.60%

TWITTER

Kyle Kuzma — 36.03%
Jayson Tatum — 18.14%
Brandon Ingram — 14.21%
Karl-Anthony Towns — 12.82%
Giannis Antetokounmpo — 11.21%

FACEBOOK

Jayson Tatum — 35.63%
Kyle Kuzma — 30.12%
Joel Embiid — 5.68%
James Harden — 4.95%
Brandon Ingram — 4.44%

INSTAGRAM

Jayson Tatum — 55.16%
Kyle Kuzma — 28.01%
Ben Simmons — 23.50%
Giannis Antetokounmpo — 18.09%
LeBron James — 12.70%

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