The NBA Twittersphere can often be a world of questionable orthography and irrelevant tweets talking about finished workouts and soon-to-come meals. But there are some guys out there that provide real insight into the life of NBA players or, at the very least, funny interaction with fans. We rank the best of them.
10. Shaquille O’Neal, Cleveland
Like in basketball, Shaq’s best days on Twitter are behind him. That said, he’s the one who helped popularize the website among NBA players and to this day remains the most followed of them all by far. While not that active anymore, to his credit he’s had more tweets than games played this season. No more digs at players or coaches recently, though.
9. Rudy Gay, Memphis
Gay’s fun-loving personality is at display on his Twitter account. You will not find many deep reflections there, but he’s good for a laugh. Example: “Mbenga might be a champion but he’s still ugly.”
8. Baron Davis, LA Clippers
One of the NBA pioneers in seeing the Web’s potential when it comes to connecting directly with fans without the media filter. His tweeting falls more on the promotional side, but it’s still interesting because he does have a lot going on outside of basketball.
7. Steve Nash, Phoenix
The Suns All-Star guard uses the website to promote his foundation, media appearances and hilarious videos. Doesn’t let his wit show as much as you’d like, though. With his dry humor, he could have been the Twitter heir to Thunder forward Nick Collison, who has (sadly) been very inactive in the site ever since the regular season began.
6. Rashard Lewis, Orlando
Probably spends more time getting back at fans than any player not named Stephon Marbury (left off the list because he’s not an active NBA player).
5. Ron Artest, LA Lakers
Just like with everything else, Ron Artest is a strange bird on Twitter. For some reason, the Lakers forward has three different accounts, in which he displays the typical Artest persona – outrageous, funny, contradictory, self-promotional… Worth the read.
4. Jon Brockman, Sacramento
The prototypical player who’s bigger on Twitter than in basketball. Became a Twitter sensation during his senior year at Washington thanks to a prank on a Cougar fan and it only got bigger once in the NBA. Even though he’s hardly a household name at this point, he ranks among the most followed players in the league.
3. Chris Douglas-Roberts, New Jersey
Often uses Twitter to vent about haters or, more recently, about the Nets’ record losing streak. Brash talk is common with the 6-foot-7 swingman, who is not scared to voice strong opinions and gives us a peek of his personality probably moreso than any other player on Twitter.
2. Charlie Villanueva, Detroit
If Shaquille O’Neal is the one who started to make Twitter popular, Charlie Villanueva is probably the responsible for the mid-2009 boom in the NBA. Dozens of players signed up right after he got called out by Scott Skiles for tweeting during halftime of a game. The episode with Skiles, who unsurprisingly doesn’t have an account (very typical: Alvin Gentry is the only head coach with one and hasn’t tweeted since July) did nothing but increase Villanueva’s profile. The bilingual Dominican forward combines witty comments with updates on personal and team developments. He raced Chris Bosh to 50,000 followers and lost. The Raptors forward may win in number, but Villanueva gets the nod in quality.
1. Jared Dudley, Phoenix
Who said Shaq didn’t have a positive impact in Phoenix? At least, he got Jared Dudley into tweeting. Now, the former Bobcat is the clear Twitter MVP. His trade to a relevant team like Phoenix and his impressive activity with the social media website have made him a recognizable face for NBA fans – which wasn’t the case one year ago while still in Charlotte. Dudley reports news (calls himself JMZ), gives away tickets and interacts with fans, journalists, owners and fellow NBA players.
Easy to see how his Twitter success could translate into a media career down the road. For now, he’s trying to come up with new ideas to tweet about.
“I got something called Twit my Ride, like a spin off of Pimp My Ride,” Dudley says. “We’re going to do Robin Lopez. He drives a 1985 Toyota (laughs). And when I’m in OKC, I’m going to do something with Kevin Durant. A spin off of MTV The Life.”