Earlier today I saw a tweet from Golden State Warriors' guard Stephen Curry announcing he had hit one million followers on Twitter last night. My initial thought was there's no way the Warriors have a million followers, let alone Steph Curry. But sure enough Curry was right. As of this writing, he's more than 2,000 followers north of a million and I assume that number will only get bigger. But sure enough I was right too. The Warriors don't have anywhere close to that many followers. To be precise as of 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, the Dubs have only 302,158. I'm sort of astonished.
Now, I know the NBA is a players' league. I get that every time I watch the Wizards play the Knicks, Bulls, Heat, Lakers or Celtics in what are supposed to be the friendly confines of Verizon Center. In the last couple of years, that message has been hammered home even harder when I see Clippers and Thunder "fans" packing the stands in our building. I mean who has even been to Oklahoma? None of the so-called Thunder faithful we have talked to at the games that's for sure. But Steph Curry pulling in three times as many followers as his own team? This might be worth digging into on a slow Monday night.
At his current total of 1,002,668 Twitter followers, Curry has more followers than any team in the NBA except five: the Los Angeles Lakers (3,491,382 followers), the Miami Heat (2,000,728 followers), the Boston Celtics (1,295,295 followers), the Chicago Bulls (1,203,143 followers) and the Orlando Magic (1,137,208 followers; I'm assuming they are benefitting from the Dwight Howard years). Not only would he rank sixth in followers in the league if he were his own team (I'm ignoring the possibility of other players being their own teams for just a minute), he'd have more followers than the bottom five teams in the NBA combined. My beloved Washington Wizards, who currently rank 26th in the Twitter follower contest, are one of those bottom five teams.
I have nothing against Steph Curry. I actually like him as a player and I love that he re-signed with Golden State for significantly less than the maximum he could have negotiated which will give the team more flexibility to go out and get other parts to make the team a winner year after year. And it's not his fault that a million people read what he writes 140 characters at a time on Twitter. But I find the notion that he has more fans than the team he plays for to be a little puzzling. And he's nowhere near the top of the food chain in Twitter when it comes to NBA players. Kevin Durant has almost 5.5 million followers and Dwight Howard has over 4.6 million. That's nothing compared to LeBron James of course, who topped my brief search at 10,572,075 followers. That's significantly more than the Lakers, Heat, Celtics, Bulls and Magic combined. In case you are wondering, I am not one of the ten million plus!
I don't understand this mentality of following players rather than teams. I realize this probably happens more with the NBA than any other sports league but as a die hard fan of sports teams, I've always resented the casual sports fan who picks up whatever team happens to be doing well or has the biggest star. I guess it pays off; you rarely miss the playoffs when you pick the best team in the league as your team. I'm a fan of the Wizards and I'm going to suffer through whatever pain they put me through for however long it takes to be successful and I realize I may never achieve the high of winning a championship that way. I'll live with that commitment.
I follow all 12 of our players who have Twitter accounts and I will until they leave the team and in some cases beyond that. Some ex-players like Andray Blatche get dropped as soon after they are released as I can find a computer. Others like Caron Butler, Roger Mason Jr. and Emeka Okafor who I think genuinely advanced the cause of the franchise get to stick around for a while. That doesn't mean I'm rooting for their teams to succeed. I want whoever gets the Wizards closer to the playoffs to win and that's who I'm pulling for.
None of the Wizards' current players are as popular on Twitter as Steph Curry, although John Wall is less than 100,000 behind him with a number of followers five times greater than the Wizards team has. And I really don't care how many followers the Wizards have as long as they succeed and reward long suffering fans like me with some great memories in the future. The team is at a mere 186,282 followers as I finalize this post. The Lakers are in town tomorrow. I'm just looking for a win there but I'm sure based on the number of Twitter followers, there will be plenty of Laker "fans" in the building. I'm wondering how many know enough about the team to know Kobe's out. I'll find out tomorrow.
One last thing: two of the 186,282 Wizards followers are not Trevor Booker or Marcin Gortat. That seems like some low hanging fruit to me. Hopefully those guys push the "Follow" button soon.