The Most Followed NBA Teams on Twitter by County and More: An Interactive Map I’m in Danger of Spending Days On

business, culture, sports

I don’t follow the NBA as closely as some, but I’m always interested in the narratives surrounding parity, the lottery system, the differences between large and small markets, and so on. I’m a basketball fan, but not an obsessive one.

With that said, I could spend a very long time on the tool Twitter has created below. There’s a lot of information here, but I thought I’d just share this:

The Lakers have over 4 million Twitter followers. The Bucks have under 300,000. Obviously, lots of people follow more than one team, and so this isn’t as scientific as, say, a Facebook metric. But still.

Every team has outposts of support, and I like to speculate about what makes one county in Nebraska more likely to follow the Sixers than the county next to it.

You can get detailed information on every team, and you can compare any two teams.  That’s helpful if you’re interested in social media as an indication of parity or if you want to keep tabs on how well rival teams on doing with social in general.  If these numbers are any indication, major-market teams have an advantage (we already knew that), but the bulk of their follows come from outside their immediate metropolitan areas.  The later is also true for small-market teams.  If the ring were the thing, the Celtics really should have more followers than the Heat, but they have a million less.  I’m guessing Heat fans skew younger and are more savvy with social.  Boston should be treading the same threshold as the Lakers, but they’re not. Again, age and buzz are at work.

https://interactive.twitter.com/nba_followers/#?mode=team&team=all

It’s time for Peyton Manning to retire

culture, sports

Is it? I don’t know. I said after last year’s Super Bowl that Manning’s legacy was bigger than post-season wins. We found out today that he’s been playing hurt for weeks.

For The Win

(USA TODAY Sports) (USA TODAY Sports)

Let’s get two things straight before we set foot into why Sunday night should be Peyton Manning’s last game in the National Football League.

First, Manning didn’t choke last night.

Second, he is one of the best quarterbacks we will ever see play, and he should retire when he is good and ready.

Nerves didn’t get the better of Manning during Denver’s 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. It was the ninth time Manning has lost his first playoff game but not for a second did it look like the moment consumed him.

No, it appeared that he was overcome by the one thing he couldn’t audible out of. Age.

It’s possible that Manning was injured. Over the past six weeks his red zone production has plummeted, and the most prevalent culprit was deemed to be an injured Julius Thomas. It wasn’t Thomas. It was 18…

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Not Just Bacon: The IronPigs, the Liberty Bell, and Allentown’s Revolution Legacy

culture, politics, spirituality, sports

The new bacon hats are getting all of the attention (and a lot of it) in the regional and national press.  But for me, the most interesting new look in the ‘Pigs’ line up this year is the powder-blue/burgundy combo complete with a new alternate logo wedding the Liberty Bell to the local steel industry.   From the IronPigs:

“The IronPigs will don a new powder blue and burgundy two-tone Sunday cap this season that connects the rich histories of the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia regions with a fresh-take on the world-famous Liberty Bell. In this new design, the Bell is suspended by an I-beam, a symbol of the Lehigh Valley’s steelmaking prowess, and features metal rivets to indicate the Bell’s iconic crack. Lehigh Valley residents may also be familiar with the fact that in 1777, the Liberty Bell was hidden in Allentown so that the British army wouldn’t melt it down for munitions. The cap will be worn with the retro mesh IronPigs jersey which was introduced in 2013 to pay homage to the Phillies’ tradition-rich teams of the 1970s and 1980s in which the Phillies went to the postseason in six of eight seasons and won their first World Championship in 1980. “

Frankly, you had me (and always will) at powder blue and burgundy.  But there’s something even more interesting and historically important here, which the front office mentions but I’d like to expand on.   As many locals know, Allentown, then known as Northampton Town, did indeed hide the Liberty Bell (then known as the State House Bell) from the British during the American Revolution.  Specifically, the bell and ten other Philadelphia bells were hidden under the floor boards of Zion’s German Reformed Church (now known as Zion’s Reformed United Church of Christ).   Also rendered Zion’s Liberty Bell Church, the site at Church and Hamilton (between 7th and 6th) has housed Allentown’s Liberty Bell Shrine and Museum since 1962.

From Zion’s website (libertybellchurch.org):

“Zion is known as the Liberty Bell Church because in 1777, eleven bells were brought here from Philadelphia for safe‑keeping during the Revolutionary War. Those bells included the State House bell B, now better known as the Liberty Bell. They were hidden under the floor boards on this very site so that the British would not find and melt them to make cannons.

Our Liberty Bell Museum on the lower level of the building commemorates this and other historic events at the church, and houses the Harry S. Trexler Portraits of Freedom collection as well as changing exhibits. Because of its historical importance, Zion is on the National Register of Historic Places.”

As the tour guides at Zion’s will tell you, the Liberty Bell did not become “The Liberty Bell” for another 80 years after the colonies were liberated from Great Britain.  Seizing upon the message emblazoned across the bell (Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof),  abolitionists in the 19th century made it a symbol in the fight to end slavery and a reminder of the degree to which we’d failed as a body politic to proclaim the ideals of the revolution in their fullest, truest sense.

It’s not often that the cities respectively hosting a big league club and their top affiliate have this kind of connection in terms of history, iconography, and branding.  I’ll be sporting the new hat (reserved by the ‘Pigs, of course, for Sundays) in proud support of my city and the role it played in preserving one of liberty’s greatest symbols.

Bill Russell On Michael Jordan (and Cartesian Circles)

culture, sports, writing

I get a few queries for this topic every day, but I’ve never actually posted about it.  I’ve talked about Kareem on Russell and Jordan and about what Jordan says about Russell (as little as possible), but given all the recent talk about who should be on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore and Will Kobe and/or LeBron Ever Get There, I thought I should see what I could do.

In so doing, I found a still-extant Tripod (yes) website explaining why Russell is the greatest ever, and you need to see it.   There’s also a detailed Straussian discussion about how Russell’s claim that Jordan was the greatest is purposefully meaningless.  I sort of said the same thing about Kareem.  And there’s also this picture of Wlit Chamberlain wearing a fanny pack that says Wilt.