- In this final regular season edition of NBA social rankings, we recap the very best performances of 2016–17.
An eventful season filled with vicious zingers, off-court shenanigans and Joel Embiidery is coming to a close, which means it’s time to round up the very best social media performances from 2016–17. To crack these rankings, you need to have put in consistent showings, week in and week out (the Sacramento Kings are a shining example). Even if you delivered one unforgettable moment, it’s not going to be enough to knock off the giants of the web. So, CJ McCollum’s scorching hot ether of Chandler Parsons won’t make the rankings, but it was quite possibly the greatest tweet I’ve ever seen.
For a change, we’ll rank performances from worst to best. It’s been a fun season, and I hope you’ve enjoyed following the season that’s been taking place online right here in our social rankings. We’ll see you next year.
10. Ron Baker
I’ll tell you what, Ron had himself a season. He made four appearances on the social rankings and probably earned himself a rotation spot. From undrafted free agent to Mr. Steal Your Girl.
Many like to think Earth is sort of washed (c’mon, how old are you now, 4.5 BILLION or something?), but it’s probably more relevant now than it ever has been, thanks to the NBA. The story of All-Star Weekend was—by far—a ridiculous conspiracy theory that spread about our home planet being flat instead of round. Other than that, it was super lame, so we have to give Kyrie—and Earth—a lot of credit for making things interesting.
8. JaVale McGee
You could argue that the Warriors as a team deserve a spot here, but McGee’s been at the center of every funny thing they’ve done. Aside from his personal adventures (he got free Chick-fil-A once), McGee was caught in a playful back-and-forth with all of his teammates. He had blankets with Draymond Green’s sleeping face made for the entire team, and Draymond responded by using toilet paper with JaVale’s face on it. Their win total may be down on the court this season, but it’s skyrocketed off of it.
Yeah, I don’t know either. This storyline took on a life of its own toward the end of the season, and seemed to propel the Warriors to a tremendous winning streak. Folks were making photoshops of Kevin Durant announcing he’d join the Warriors on “The Toasters’ Tribune.” Reddit nicknamed Klay Thompson “The Toaster.” Only in the freaking NBA, man.
6. LaVar Ball
I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t rank LaVar. Even though none of his three sons are in the NBA, he’s acting like the entire family is, something so boisterous it warranted attention. Love him or hate him, he was (and still is) very much a subject of discussion in the league.
He’s probably the funniest guy around the league today, which makes it all the more impressive that he actually outperformed expectations this season. Almost every week he made us laugh, and he also operated a very underrated Instagram account. Big ups to the Big Snapchat, or whatever.
4. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk proved this season that he’s up there with the league’s biggest jokesters, letting his personality show on Twitter and in some of the Mavs’ short videos. We already knew he had a personality, but he became a high-volume shooter online this season and we must thank him for that. Outstanding stuff.
3. LeBron James
LeBron had so many moments, it’s hard to remember them all. He ate raw garlic to settle a bet, he flipped water bottles on the bench, he had a ‘3–1’ decoration at his Halloween party, HE IMITATED THE BALL FAMILY JUMPER! Good Lord, there is nothing this man won’t do to get in an extra shot off the court. No one hustles on Instagram harder than LeBron does, and he’s earned a lot more of my respect for that.
2. Sacramento Kings
There’s consistency, and then there’s the Kings. This team—almost every game, really—was original, hilarious, and displayed an incredible understanding of the Internet. I realize this sounds like a job recommendation, but it’s the truth. They were aggressive, and it paid off for them every time. Not to mention, Ty Lawson delivered my personal favorite moment of the season:
1. Joel Embiid
Though he really hit that rookie wall after the All-Star break, Embiid’s legendary first half was enough to land him the top spot this season. It’s undeniable: No one produced better content than he did, from his Instagram locations to his late-night “Wicked” listening-sessions. He ran an online All-Star campaign that the league probably never thought capable, which actually would have been good enough to land him in the game had the voting rules not changed. He proved that social media can actually be good for players, and not poison as the vast majority of people have thought. Thanks for everything, JoJo.