Wednesday December 9th, 2015

The NBA has become one of the most influential professional sports leagues when it comes to social media. Players fully embrace and use it as another way to connect with fans. While the NBA’s social accounts offer some of the best day-today coverage, players like LeBron James and Stephen Curry offer great behind-the-scenes peeks into their lives that we can’t get anywhere else.

Just take a look at this past off-season, when the free-agency period was highlighted by an epic emoji war. Airplanes, cars, helicopters, Paul Pierce’s failed rocket ship and banana boats included, the saga showed that the NBA is fully entrenched in social media. With the season already in full gear, here are some player accounts you need to follow this season.

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Hawks: Kent Bazemore

Twitter handle: @24Bazemore

Why you should follow: Kent Bazemore is one of the more underrated players you should follow. He is active on every platform, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine and even Youtube. He also created his own app that provides constant updates on the Hawks, himself, stats, live game coverage and the opportunity for fans to win awards and memorabilia.

Celtics: Isaiah Thomas

Twitter handle: @Isaiah_Thomas

Why you should follow: Isaiah Thomas keeps things entertaining on his Twitter feed constantly, whether he is talking about his favorite role models like Bruce Lee or talking about being featured in Space Jam 2.

Nets: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 

Twitter Handle: @RondaeHj24

Why you should follow: It is unfortunate Rondae Hollis-Jefferson went down with an ankle-injury after appearing in only 19 games this season. The 20-year-old forward is one of the most entertaining rookies in this year's class alongside Kristaps Porzingis and Frank Kaminsky. 

Hornets: Jeremy Lin

Twitter handle: @JLin7

Why you should follow: It seems like the Linsanity brand is officially back. After quick stints with the Rockets and Lakers after he found success in New York, Lin has looked comfortable in Charlotte. Michael Jordan called him the team’s most important acquisition this off-season. The thing with Lin is that his presence stretches beyond basketball. He is a marketing juggernaut and fans love him. Lin’s Youtube channel is worth subscribing too as well, with over 500K subscribers. His “How to fit in the NBA” video parody, which features some of his NBA counterparts and Riley Curry, accounted for over 4 million views in one month.

Bulls: Pau Gasol

Twitter handle: @PauGasol

Why you should follow: The Barcelona native has an advantage over other players with the ability to speak two languages throughout his feeds. He has over 3 million followers on Twitter and 735K on Instagram and always posts after team wins.

Cavaliers: LeBron James

Twitter handle: @Kingjames

Why you should follow: I always wonder what it would've been like if social media was around when Michael Jordan played. LeBron is this generation's Michael Jordan, and his social media numbers are staggering. With 25.7 million followers on Twitter and 16 million on Instagram, his global reach is impressive. But while King James is the obvious choice to follow, let's not forget about that the rest of the Cavs roster is full of entertaining guys, such as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert and fan favorite J.R. Smith.

Mavericks: Chandler Parsons

Twitter handle: @ChandlerParsons

Why you should follow: Cheers to the guy who started a free-agency war with an airplane emoji. While Chandler ultimately failed to woo Jordan to Dallas, he is one of the most fun players to follow on Twitter. Whether he is joking around on Marc Cuban or trying to brand himself as a model, Parsons is worth your time.

Honorable mention: You should also follow Javale McGee.

Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay

Twitter handle: @EmmanuelMudiay

Why you should follow: Some of the best players to follow on social media are rookies. They are young and new to the NBA lifestyle, so it is fun to follow them along their journey. Mudiay has been thrown into the fire early as the starting point guard of the Nuggets, and is already a natural when it comes to the spotlight judging by his cameo in Foot Locker commercials.

Pistons: Andre Drummond

Twitter handle: @AndreDrummondd

Why you should follow: Andre Drummond is in the midst of his breakout season and is easily one of the most entertaining guys on Twitter and Instagram. Whether he is posting memes or talking about his WCW, he always keeps the mood light.

Honorable Mention: Brandon Jennings is another member of the Pistons you must follow throughout the season. The best thing about following Jennings on Twitter is that he is straight forward and speaks his mind on topics trending in music, fashion and around the NBA.

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Warriors: Stephen Curry

Twitter handle: @Stephencurry30

Why you should follow: If you have been living under a rock, Steph Curry is currently having one of the greatest years in NBA history. He has accomplished everything from winning his first NBA title, MVP, his own signature sneaker, video game cover, golfing with Obama, and welcoming another daughter, Ryan, to join Riley. Draymond Green is another player you should follow on the Warriors roster.

Rockets: James Harden

Twitter handle: @JHarden13

Why you should follow: James Harden’s brand skyrocketed over this past year. He is truly a one-of-a-kind follow on Instagram. Along with being the face of the Rockets, he joined Adidas after agreeing to a lucrative $200 million deal. The move came because of his crossover appeal and popularity among young fans.

Pacers: Paul George

Twitter handle: @YG_Trece

Why you should follow: PG-13 is one of the most popular players in the NBA, and he has a lot of followers across his accounts. While he posts a lot of cool stuff, it is also worth mentioning that he really loves fishing. Like really loves it.

Clippers: Chris Paul

Twitter handle: @CP3

Why you should follow: To be honest we should follow every single player on the Clippers roster. This team seriously needs their own show with guys like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick and Lance Stephenson on the roster. But when it comes down to one name, CP3 gets the nod. He has one of the best sneaker closets in the league and has celebrities every other day on his Instagram page.

Lakers: Nick Young

Twitter handle: @NickSwagyPYoung

Why should follow: Kobe Bryant seems like the logical choice because he has a massive following, but he is not consistent enough. That is where Swaggy P comes in. Like Jeremy Lin, Young is a social media superstar. He brings a lot to the table in terms of entertainment with his personality and style.

Grizzlies: Tony Allen

Twitter handle: @aa000G9

Why you should follow: I wish Allen was among the players in the emoji war because he uses one for EVERY tweet.

HeatDwyane Wade

Twitter handle: @DwayneWade

Why you should follow: In terms of consistency, there might not be a better player on social media than Dwyane Wade. He shares everything, from his relationship with Gabrielle Union, his kids, his entrepreneurial endeavors, fashion and more.

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Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Twitter handle: @G_Ante34

Why you should follow: The ‘Greek Freak’ is one of the most beloved players in the NBA. His potential on the court is off the charts but fans have grown to love his personality. Like Lin, he also launched his own Youtube channel, where he shares all kinds of videos about his life and the Bucks.

Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio

Twitter handle: @Rickyrubio9

Why you should follow: Following in Pau Gasol’s footsteps, Rubio brings an international appeal to his social media accounts. He has over a million followers on Twitter and is one of the nicest guys in the league.

Pelicans: Anthony Davis

Twitter handle - @AntDavis23

Why you should follow: Anthony Davis is a master promoter on Twitter. Every other tweet is geared for fans to participate in different contest to win a pair of sneakers. So if you want some new kicks, you better follow A.D.

KnicksCarmelo Anthony

Twitter handle: @CarmeloAnthony

Why you should follow: Carmelo is still the man in New York. His accounts might not be as fun as other high-profile players, but what you get from following Melo on social media is that he is a business man. He also has no problem of firing back at social media trolls from time to time. No one predicted Kristaps Porzingis to break out this early in his career, and he has become a social media star. His Twitter Q&A this past month was golden.

Thunder: Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant

Twitter handles: @Russwest44 and @KDTrey5

Why you should follow: It is pretty rare to have two young superstars on the same roster. Both guys have used social media to their success. Russ, for example, has a made a career off the court because of the unique fashion sense he showcases on Instagram. Durant is second to LeBron when it comes to followers across all social accounts, and is one of the most marketable athletes in the world.

Magic: Evan Fournier

Twitter handle: @Evanfoumizz

Why you should follow: Evan Fournier stole a page out of Pau Gasol’s playbook when it comes using social media. He usually tweets things twice, once in English and once in French. He is also one of the most interesting guys to follow on Instagram.

76ers: Kendall Marshall

Twitter handle: @Kbutter5

Why you should follow: Kendall Marshall has had a tough time staying on the court because of injuries, but he has been one of the best on Twitter. He drops knowledge constantly on the game, and his sneaker closet is better than yours by a long shot.

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Suns: Tyson Chandler 

Twitter handle: @TysonChandler

Why you should follow: While his Twitter account is not the best, Tyson Chandler’s Instagram page is definitely an ultimate guide to how an NBA player lives.

Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard

Twitter handle: @Dame_Lillard

Why you should follow: If you want some motivation Dame Lillard is someone you should follow. He has spent his entire life as an underdog and is constantly pushing the idea that you can make it. He also has a budding rap career on the side. His 4-Bar Friday freestyles have been a huge success within his fan base.

KingsDeMarcus Cousins

Twitter handle: @BoogieCousins

Why you should follow: Much like on the court, Boogie has no filter on social media. This is a man that saved a writer’s tweet from five years ago to troll him.

Spurs: Manu Ginobili

Twitter handle: @ManuGinobili

Why you should follow: The best part of following Manu on Twitter is that he constantly dishes out apps you should download on your phone. Thanks for the assist, Manu.

Raptors: DeMar Derozan

Twitter handle: @Demar_Derozan

Why you should follow: DeMar Derozan keeps things simple on his social feeds. He doesn’t throw too much out there but he is your best bet to see what is going on in the Six besides Drake.

Jazz: Rudy Gobert

Twitter handle: @RudyGobert

Why you should follow: International guys really understand the power of social media. Like Gasol, Rubio and Fournier, Gobert tweets before and after games to his fans abroad to keep them updated.

Wizards: Jared Dudley

Twitter handle: @JaredDudley619

Why you should follow: If you are looking for NBA analysis and commentary, look no further than Jared Dudley. He is pretty much a shoo-in to be an analyst after his playing days are over. Also, of course, John Wall is a great follow as well.

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