The NBA released it’s team-specific hashtags the same way the NFL did a few months prior, designing a type of ‘forum’ through twitter for fans to search and find specific content related to their team. It is generally a good way to not only own the forum itself (so fans don’t get scattered creating their own hashtags) but also to allow teams to create a brand that they can control. Good partnership between twitter and the league, which results in a more engaging experience for the fans. Here is a list of the hashtags which they decided upon:
From first glance you can see that there is quite a bit more creativity in the NBA hashtags as opposed to the NFL, where multiple teams simply put their own team name as the text. This is presumably due to the NBA being a more fan-engaging league than the NFL in general, not limiting vines of games and realizing the obvious importance of social media in the current landscape of sport.
The same way we ranked the NFL emojis from 32-1, we will be doing so with the NBA. Buckle up, here we go:
NBA HASHTAG RANKINGS
30. #Celtics, 29 #Knicks, 28. #Pelicans – As usual, you will get some stragglers who just sort of don’t understand what the point of this entire process is yet. The Celtics and Knicks, reliant on a dedicated and historical fanbase, probably don’t want to get ‘too cute’ with hashtags and antagonize a fanbase accustomed to tradition. That makes sense. What doesn’t make any sense is the New Orleans Pelicans. Since their introduction into the NBA they really have struggled to be ANYTHING other than Anthony Davis. Heck, make #TheBrow a thing and just go all in on your superstar. This was a lost opportunity for a team lacking a brand to get ahead of the game like some of their competitors below…
27. #BullsNation – I like this more than going #Bulls, but only by the same margin at which you would like a shit sandwich a little more with a slice of pepperjack cheese on it. They introduced Rondo, Wade, and Robin Lopez to the roster this offseason, have entirely switched gears, and are not going to elaborate on a hashtag. Don’t hate it, don’t love it.
26. #GoPacers – Same thing here. What even is a Pacer? A google search and what really should have been common sense assures me that it is someone out in front setting a pace. Oh no shit? Then why is your hashtag so fucking boring.
25. #DCFamily – This would be higher on the list ahead of some other boring hashtags had it made any sense. Their team is notable one of the most dysfunctional in all of basketball with a rift between your two biggest stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. This hashtag seems more like someone saying ‘Please let us all get along this year’ and less like a representation of the current squad.
24. #DetroitBasketball – The word basketball is a little too long for me in a hashtag world where characters count. Also I feel like the bad-boy era the Pistons had coupled with the current smashmouth roster allowed for some creativity here. They are one of the most talked about ‘darkhorses’ in the league heading into this season. I dock them points based on missed opportunity.
23. #ItTakesEverything – For those of you who might not even know what team this is from, that is the reason (Clippers by the way) why I am putting them down here. Seems like over-complication. It will, indeed, take everything to win the West. Just seems more like chalkboard material before a huge game. This will be a cool hashtag come playoff time, but games 10-75 of the season might feel a little less important than this hashtag.
22. #GoSpursGo – Meh. Go ___ go always reminds me of Barstool and if there is one thing in the world the opposite of Barstool it’s the European humor and Popovich-led Spurs. I know I retired the gif but I am doing it again.
21. #LetsGoMagic – Man, another boring one. When your hashtag is also the thing you have to put up on the jumbotron to generate ANY noise is the city of Orlando outside of DisneyWorld I don’t really condone it. LETS GO MAGIC DUH, DUH, DUH-DUH-DUH.
20. #ThunderUp – Enough to crack the top twenty, but I think Thunderstruck would have been more apprpriate.
19 #Rockets50 – All for anniversaries, and I really don’t hate this hashtag. It’s simple, effective, and keeps character limits low. This team will be incredible to watch this year due to their ability to score 150 on any given night, and the ONLY reason this isn’t higher on the list is that it’s a loaded field in the upper half. Overall this is the guy on your roster who doesn’t positively or negatively influence your result, which is the opposite of what this team is poised to be this year.
18. #TrueToAtlanta – The idea of creating pride in one’s city is always a nice way to generate fan interest in your franchise, and staying true to their city is quite literally what this hashtag generated. The only downside is the possibility of an implosion with Dwight Howard in town, which would render the last half of the season embarrassing. This could turn into a tweet like ‘Oh we lost by 25 again and Dwight had 6 rebounds, way to be #TrueToAtlanta’ or something like that.
17. #SacramentoProud – Are you though? Your superstar will not see the all-star break for you this season, as he will be traded. You named a street sign in Sacramento after David Stern. No one is realllllly proud to be from Sacramento, but the idea is similar to what Atlanta did above. Only difference here is that the team doesn’t play like it’s very proud.
16. #HEATIsOn – This team interests me, and the hashtag does the same. Capitalizing the team name entirely (HEAT) is something not every other team did and that creates an emphasis on the team and not the phrase. Miami is a city who is used to superstars and good basketball, and neither is guaranteed this year with Hassan Whiteside as the on-paper best player. The heat is literally on down in Miami, as they invested on risky assets. Fitting hashtag and a job well done.
15. #MADEinPHILA – Of course everyone wanted to see #TrustTheProcess but they seem to be moving on with step 2 of the process which is never mentioning the process and firing Sam Hinkie. I believe the MADE in the hashtag is referring to the drafting of almost all the cogs in the rotation by the 76ers, and the PHILA is obviously an emphatic use of the city name with character restraints. Also, they are going to be garbage aside from Embiid.
14. #WeArePHX – Saying a lot with minimal characters is nice. I like the PHX play, and I really enjoy the face that they fit in three proud words in 8 characters. The X coupled with the old school ‘ball’ logo looks sharp.
13. #BrooklynGrit – Brooklyn is generally a gritty place, and they will absolutely be awful this season with the currently constructed roster. Like I alluded to before, these hashtags should drive narrative and create a brand to fit your team, and I think taking a team who will undoubtedly be awful and labelling them gritty allows for fans to maaaaaybe find a sliver of hope in a dismal situation. If you can’t win, at least make it look like you’re trying super hard.
12. #MFFL – Any team who rewards fans for sticking it out through the dark ages of the franchise’s history is good in my books, and that is the point here with the Mavericks. MFFL means Mavs Fan For Life, and it is in ode to the 90’s when the team was pathetic and fans continued to support and pour in. They won a title within the last 7 years, and this year they are trending back downwards, but MFFL is a nice homage to life-long fans.
11. #DefendTheLand – Right outside the top ten, we have Cleveland defending the city from possible invaders. Last season’s obvious NBA champion, they will be in defense of a title as massive underdogs which is crazy. A little long of a hashtag, but works.
10. #MileHighBasketball – Top ten solely for creativity, because this is wayyyy too long of a hashtag. Mile High obviously alluding to Denver and it’s altitude, and basketball alluding to James Naismith’s invention (which happened at Springfield by the way, fuck off Kansas) makes for a fun little hashtag. I think they could have played more on the gold rush, as you look above and their logo is crossing hammers. This is fine, and good for branding purposes. The phrase ‘mile high’ only really associates with good things.
9. #DubNation – Consistently one of the best teams in the NBA with social media presence and branding, the Warriors have done it again with a nice and neat hashtag. They use this phrase a lot, and the logo is AWESOME for a team who will be attempting close to 60 three pointers a night.
8. #GrindCity – Memphis nailed this one. You want your hashtag to embody all your team and city represent, and the style of basketball in Memphis will be the definition of ‘Grind.’ Not going to score a lot of points, not going to give up any easy buckets, and slow the pace down. If hashtags are to be scaled based on your teams overall appeal, this would go way down. However it is not, and the idea is to generate a common thread and tone.
7. #WeTheNorth – The Raptors have continued this campaign and by all accounts it has worked. Creating a WE vs. EVERYONE idea in the northern hemisphere, which Toronto solely owns, allows for some actual identity to come alive for the Raptors. Drake has rebranded the team overnight seemingly, and it turned from a weird red and purple mess into an actually intimidating place to win. Eastern Conference Finals last year, the same roster returning, keep the message the same.
6. #LakeShow – This is a huge season for the Los Angeles Lakers. The first season in two decades to begin without Kobe, and the first in nearly the franchises history without a clear-cut superstar. They will probably miss the playoffs, the roster has a lot of great pieces, and they will more than likely be fun to watch. The idea of a ‘show’ is very Los Angeles-themed which is nice, and the Lake aspect rolls off the tongue. This hashtag, more than any other, is audibly sound and will probably result in that phrase being used to describe the team this season. It has been used in the past, but last year was abysmal for fans (aside from game 82, which resembled a show more than a game) and this season is oddly cloaked in optimism. They have to live up, but if they are a fun and lovable losing team this could be a fantastic start to the branding process this season post-Kobe.
5. #PowerOfThePack – Awesome, Awesome, Awesome. The Timberwolves have a LOT of young pieces, an absolute superstar in Karl Anthony Towns, and a coach who knows what it takes to win in Tom Thibodeau. They will be deep, fast, and rotate a lot of hungry guys at you defensively. The Power of the Pack in ode to Wolves is genius, and their true strength lies in their depth. Creative, strong, and clear hashtag. Once docked a few points due to it’s length, but this Top-5 can all be interchanged in my opinion.
4. #BuzzCity – The Hornets have been trying this ‘Buzz’ theme due to it’s obvious uniqueness with Z’s, and the play on Hornets is nice. Also, people are pretty scared of Hornets in general I would say, and the color scheme coupled with the logo in the hashtag makes it really cool. They won 48 games last season shockingly, and the rebrand they have undergone in the last 5 years is nothing short of magical. Other than Golden State, this team seems to have the most distinct brand believe it or not. Short, concise, creative, and clear. This is a win for Charlotte.
3. #RipCity – I give Portland major props for their social footprint. They were voted the best social media account in the NBA, they have a rabid fanbase who believes in their backcourt, and they didn’t get too complicated. RIP CITY is in reference to an announcers famous description in a broadcast during the 1980’s, and it just stuck. Retro and cool, this is a prime example of letting your existing brand run the social scene. If they switched it up, they would be ranked last on here.
2. #OwnTheFuture – The Milwaukee Bucks are doing something no one else in the NBA has ever done this season. Not only are they starting a point guard with a 7 and a half foot wingspan in Giannis, they drafted for length at nearly every position. They will be the LONGEST team in NBA history this year, they are run by Jason Kidd, and they are one of the more progressive system-teams in the league. They may struggle, but this hashtag changes the mindset of the team loyalists by assuring them that they alone have a stranglehold on the future of the league. It’s interesting, and it drives the narrative.
1. #TakeNote – Here is my personal favorite hashtag of the bunch. The Utah Jazz are one of the most exciting teams in the league heading into the season, with some great additions fitting into the rotation seamlessly. They are DEMANDING attention right now with this hashtag, they are the JAZZ which ‘Note’ refers to, and they want you to realize they are here to compete for the second seed in the Western Conference. Do I think it will work in Utah? Probably not. But this hashtag demands I pay attention to a team who easily flies under the radar. Also puns, I like puns.
Well, that’s the entire ranking. Get at me on twitter @mikeyfowler18 and let me know where I screwed up.
FOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD