The NBA has a huge presence on social media. They recently were the fist major sports league to surpass 1 billion social media likes and followers. The growing fan and media impact on the game via social media platforms has led to people looking for as much coverage as they can possibly get. Reporters are working and tweeting all the time to bring information to their followers quickly and accurately.
Reporters battle to break news on player transactions, coaching changes or anything else that is worth sharing. The job of some reporters is to acquire insider information on teams in order to break this news on the web. The most notable of these reporters would be Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who leads the newly founded website The Vertical. He has built up such a strong repertoire of sources that he tweets out picks during the NBA Draft right before the commissioner announces them. As far as criticism for that, he does not care about it, citing that he would not refrain from reporting a trade or free agency signing in fear of harming a competitor’s programming.
While reporting on the NBA, a lot of these reporters use anonymous sourcing when they release their information, so as information gets passed along, it is more difficult to maintain who reported it first unless it is acknowledged. A lot of people confirm the reports of others while acknowledging they are doing that, but ESPN has always been under fire for using vague terms like “Media reports”, making it seem like they are picking up and taking credit for reports that they were not the first to break the scoop on. The sharing of information is great to spread knowledge, but in this competitive world of Basketball Twitter everybody is looking to get famous off of the big scoop.
Athletes now also play a huge role on social media. Recently, fans had the opportunity to vote for players into the All-Star starting lineup, and it kind of led to a popularity contest, altering the vote and who was then in the starting lineups. Players can control their voice and image, to an extent, through social media. They can bypass the media and tell their own stories, giving them a different kind of voice. As social media become more popular along with the growing popularity of the NBA, it will be interesting to see how the interactions between players, the media and fans of the game both change and stay the same.