Instagram has given people an often-amusing view into the lives of their favorite athletes. Sometimes, it's a selfie or a photo with some family members. Other times, it's a window into an athlete's job or thought-process. Importantly, social media platforms like Instagram have allowed athletes to express themselves how they see fit and 2014 was filled with examples of athletes harnessing Instagram in funny, poignant and touching ways. In no particular order, here are some of the best athlete-related Instagram posts of 2014.
1. Steph Curry's turnovers
Stephen Curry knows what causes losses. It's not tasty treats either. The Warriors are the hottest team in the NBA and keeping turnovers under control is a big part of the reason why. Steph is averaging just over three turnovers per game but that's understandable considering how much he handles the ball.
2. Ty Lawson's multi-sport diss
Granted, it's not AS funny now that the Cowboys defense is decent, but Ty Lawson's amusing shade-throwing at James Harden over his defensive tendencies will never not be hilarious. The caption "Cowboys defensive coordinator #Rp" sells it.
3. The Eagles get cozy
Mark Sanchez gave people an insiders view into the Eagles locker room but it doesn't seem like Zach Ertz or Lane Johnson were notified of Sanchez's expose.
4. Jeremy Lin dunks on his mom
Jeremy Lin posterizing his mom validates Instagram's video function in its entirety.
5. Boris Diaw signs his contract on a boat
Boris Diaw found the most picturesque way to sign his contract extension with the Spurs. Being a reigning NBA champion must be pretty sweet.
6. Floyd Mayweather meets someone richer than him
Floyd Mayweather is never afraid to flex on social media, but even Mayweather seems absolutely floored by having the chance to stand next to Warren Buffet. Thanks to this photo, we now know that Warren Buffet is a member of Team Money which has to rank among Buffet's greatest achievements.
7. LeBron goes home
In case you haven't been paying attention to sports for the last year, LeBron decided to return to his home-state Cleveland Cavaliers. This photo was the perfect complement to his coming-home essay.
8. Kevin Durant has a leg to stand on
Kevin Durant wasn't able to start the NBA season due to a foot injury but the Thunder's franchise player was still able to showcase some good humor while he healed up. He was even able to get Mitch McGary to take a scooter-buddy photo with him.
9. AJ Hawk tackles some guy
For reasons only known to him, one fan at the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament wanted Packers linebacker AJ Hawk to tackle him. Hawk obliged but one has to wonder what motivates a man to ask a 6'1", 235 pound NFL linebacker to lay one on him.
10. Yasiel Puig hates thunder
What's great about this Yasiel Puig video is how unscripted it is. Sure, people pose for pictures and compose funny videos all the time but it's rare that such an unscripted freak-out is captured and then uploaded to Instagram. Yasiel Puig, unafraid of a one hundred mph fast ball but totally terrified of thunder.
11. Joel Embiid's pre-op selfie
Joel Embiid has really made his mark on social media in a very short amount of time and his pre-surgery selfie game makes it easy to see why Joel Embiid is a must-follow on Twitter and Instagram.
12. Shaqtin' a... good guy?
A lot of people made a huge fuss over LeBron's decision to not re-sign with the Miami Heat. When all the predictable hater-ade spewed LeBron's way, Shaq had the perfect response to everyone who thought LeBron was making some morally wrong decision by signing with the Cavs.
13. Lionel Messi after a drug test
This picture of Lionel Messi was taken right after Argentina booked its ticket to the World Cup final. If it looks like Messi isn't in the most celebratory of places it's because he was pulled for a random doping test immediately after the match.
14. Marcin Gortat and a pig
Marcin Gortat takes his pig for a walk in a Polish shopping center. That is all.
15. Kevin Hart does his best
Let's be real. The chances of Kevin Hart stuffing CP3 were basically nil but it's still really, really amusing to see Hart try.
16. Michael Jordan's big surprise
Michael Jordan can still cause a room full of elementary school kids to lose their minds despite the fact that most of those kids probably don't even remember ever watching Jordan play a live game. Such is the power of His Airness.
17. Remember the Texans
After Andre Johnson skipped Houston Texans OTAs, rumors were swirling over Johnson's discontent with the team's direction and there was chatter that the team was exploring the possibility of cutting Johnson before minicamps. Arian Foster asked Johnson to come back to Houston in the best way possible - with an adorable Instagram photo complete with backing Temptations music.
18. Detroit Tigers in Zubaz
After sweeping the Boston Red Sox in a series back in May, the Detroit Tigers celebrated by wearing Zubaz suits on their plane ride to Cleveland. Frankly, they should do it after every game, regardless of outcome.
19. Johnny Football to the Browns
The 2014 NFL Draft may have had plenty of promising players in it but no one grabbed headlines and attention like Johnny Manziel.
20. Sherman's Lombardi selfie
There's nothing quite as satisfying as talking a big game and then backing it up, and that's just what Richard Sherman did during the Seahawk's Super Bowl run. The Lombardi Trophy selfie was just icing on the cake.
21. Snoop Brady
The less context there is for this picture, the better it gets.
22. J.J. Watt receives an autograph
You have to appreciate the gumption that it takes to send your own signed football jersey to JJ Watt, especially when said signed jersey is sent by a seven-year-old. Watt was impressed enough to commend the kid on Instagram for his "guts".
23. DeAndre Jordan's statement
During the huge controversy that would eventually end in Donald Sterling being booted out of the NBA, many were wondering what Clippers players had to say about Sterling. DeAndre Jordan's "blackout" post with no text said all that needed to be said on the matter.
24. Cam Newton is okay, you guys
Cam Newton posted this picture soon after he emerged relatively unscathed from a very scary car crash. The picture is poignant but Cam's message to "1OVE the people who are close to you (and don't be afraid to tell them as well)" is what makes this one so great.
25. Devon gives Leah a pep-talk
This Instagram video of Devon Still giving his four-year-old daughter Leah a pre-surgery pep talk is so touching, it could have occupied all 25 spots in this list and I wouldn't have objected in the least.
Ryan Wong is a writer for Next Impulse Sports