This month, NBA Digital held its third annual NBA Social Media Awards, which honors NBA players and teams for their active participation on social media throughout the regular season. The NBA handed out 10 social media awards in 10 categories over 10 days, with the help of fan voting on NBA.com, Facebook and Twitter.
Here are this year’s winners:
Best Vine/Video– Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Selfie Award– Jrue Holiday (New Orleans Pelicans)
Best Hashtag- Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)
LOL Award- Nick Young (Los Angeles Lakers)
“AWW” Award- Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Best #TBT- Kendall Marshall (Los Angeles Lakers)
Social Rookie- Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets)
Best Post- Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)
— Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) January 14, 2014
Team Social MVP- Houston Rockets
Social MVP- Damian Lillard (Portland Trailblazers)
The NBA Social Media Awards are only a part of the NBA’s social presence, as #NBAGreen, #HoopsForTroops, #KIACommunityAssist and #NBAFit are all campaigns within the NBA’s larger initiative, NBA Cares.
The NBA was also host to the very first “Social Media Night” back in 2013, encouraging fans to socially engage with the Golden State Warriors. Members of the team wore shooting shirts with the team Twitter handle on the front, and their personal handle on the back. Fans were also given the opportunity to participate in an Instagram photo challenge, and send in tweets that could then be displayed on the scoreboard during the game.
Social media has become crucial to professional sports. Not only does it allow fans to track and engage in the action, but it gives athletes and teams a way to communicate directly with fans, furthering their own ‘brand’ and remaining accessible to the general public. So far, the NBA is the only league out of the major four (MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL) to give recognition to teams and athletes for the use of social media.