October 9, 2020

NBA Finals Players Compete for Social Audience off the Court

SBJ Atlas

NBA Finals players from both the Lakers and the Heat engaged with fans more on Instagram than Twitter throughout the last two months in the Orlando bubble. LeBron James led all players in August and September Instagram interactions with 76.6M, over seven times more than the next closest player, Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma was also second in Twitter engagement, though the gap between James and him was much less at 7.5M.  

For the Heat, Jimmy Butler outpaced his teammates on Instagram with 4.5M in total interactions, with rookie sensation Tyler Herro behind him at 2M. Herro, a rising star, far eclipsed all players in engagement rate on Twitter (16.3%) and Instagram (14.2%). In second for each social site is Bam Adebayo’s 2.5% rate on Twitter and Goran Dragic’s 7.5% rate on Instagram. While both these players fell short of teammate Herro by a wide margin, the two along with Butler, still managed higher engagement rates than the entire Lakers’ 5. 

Despite Heat players leading in engagement rate, the two most engaged posts of the period went to James (1.69M for a tweet on 8/26) and Kuzma (645K for an Instagram post on 9/14). Lakers players rounded out the top five in this category, with a Butler post coming in sixth, and a Herro post landing seventh. 

The Lakers’ players, thanks in large part to LeBron James, eclipsed the Heat comfortably on both social media sites with 81.8M interactions more on Instagram and 11.5M more on Twitter. Removing LeBron’s social contribution to the Lakers still gives the team a slight lead of 9M (Instagram) and 1.5M (Twitter) over their opponent.