Thursday December 8th, 2016

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Despite being below .500 less than 25 games into the NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers are leading the league in Twitter emojis mentions.

Like with the NFL, which launched similar hashtag-triggered Twitter emojis prior to to the 2016-17 season, the NBA decided to roll out the same fan engagement tool with Twitter. The Lakers’ faithful has used its team-specific hashtag, #LakeShow, more than 340,000 times from Nov. 5 to Dec. 5.

According to SocialFlow, a social media publishing and analytics company, the Golden State Warriors (DubNation) and New York Knicks (#Knicks) came in at No. 2 and No.3 with roughly 260,000 and 220,000 mentions, respectively.

The Cleveland Cavaliers (#DefendTheLand), who currently sit atop the Eastern Conference, and Oklahoma City Thunder (#ThunderUp) round out the top five at 120,000-plus mentions and 90,000 mentions.

Conversely, the bottom two franchises on Twitter are the Orlando Magic (LetsGoMagic) and Denver Nuggets (MileHighBasketball), with both recording fewer than 10,000 Twitter emojis mentions over the past month.

Overall, all of the top 10 teams on Twitter minus the Lakers and Atlanta Hawks would be in the playoffs if they started today. The Lakers currently are in the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference while the Hawks are No. 10 in the East.

“The inclusion of actual emojis in the NBA seems to have caused an increase in fan engagement compared to the traditional hashtags,” said Mark White, a SocialFlow spokesperson. “What is perhaps most surprising is that a team win-loss record doesn’t necessarily mean the most engaged emoji fan base.

“The Warriors/Dub Nation are in the top three, but the Knicks, despite the roster shakeup, are barely above .500 but remain one of the top emoji teams in the league. The Cavs are the defending champs and have two superstars on their team but are in fourth place.”

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