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

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.

Paul Pierce and Gospel Poetry

spirituality, sports

I spent most of the day working on a message inspired by 1 Corinthians 1:18- 25.  In that passage, the apostle Paul says that the cross and the message it sends are foolishness to the self-styled wisdom of convention, but to those who “are being saved, it is the power of God.”

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the ways the life of Jesus bucked convention. His birth and upbringing, his passion, death, and resurrection. let alone his passion, death, and resurrection.  Te irony, subversion, and poetry of Christ’s story is precisely what I find so compelling.

Last night, while I watched Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith throw down about the trade rumors swilring around Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, I did a little reading up on lifelong Celtic forward Paul Pierce.  It’s not often that professional athletes quote Mark Twain and Blaise Pascal on the front page of their website, but as Shaquille O’Neal will tell you, “Paul Pierce is the Truth.”  As Pierce’s website reminds any nonbeliever:  After a Lakers’ victory over the Celtics in 2001, O’Neal pulled a Boston reporter over and gestured toward his notepad:

“Take this down,” said O’Neal. “My name is Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce is the [%*$&ing] truth. Quote me on that and don’t take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth.”

Compare that wit the first three verses of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

My name is Paul and this is how it is with Jesus. 

My name is Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce is the truth. 

Sometimes that’s how I feel about the poetry of Jesus’ story.  Whatever else, that poetry’s the truth.

“Fiction is bound by possibility,” Pierce quotes Twain as saying, “the truth is not.”  Pascal adds, “we know the truth not only by reason, but also with the heart.”

What’s In A Name? Ron Artest Picks Up On World B. Free, Updates the Message.

sports

Okay. Okay okay okay.  This is awesome.

When I was six, the Point Guard Formerly Known as Lloyd Bernard Free returned to my Philadelphia 76ers.  By then, of course, Free had legally changed his first name to World (having been so nicknamed as a youngster because of ultimate vertical skills), and I was introduced to a man named World B. Free.  A man. Named World. B. Free.  Could people really do that? We’re talking circa-Rocky IV, still-afraid-of-the-Russians, Red Dawn middle ’80s. After Scooby Doo and He-Man, World B. Free was the absolute coolest thing I could imagine. It was like me telling my kindergarten teacher, “yes, my name is Christopher, but you will call me Nemesis Enforcer.”   I should have.

Today I saw a headline that said Ron Artest wants to legally change his name.  First thought? Please, please, let it be to World B. Free II.  But the truth is even better.  When the ink dries, Artest shall henceforth be known as Metta World Peace.

I absolutely love this.  I also happen to think that “World Peace” is the perfect 2010’s analog to the “Free World” concepts of the 80s.  It’s not that I think we shouldn’t want our whole world to be free, but I suppose a truly peaceful world would also be a free one.  We’ve certainly seen that war has not necessarily wrought freedom abroad or even made it more secure at home these past 10 years. Am grateful that we haven’t been attacked here for a decade?  Absolutely.  Do the erosion of civil liberties and the overt wars we’re waging worry me?  Yes, of course they do.  But it just may be that freedom will finally come through peace and sustainability and not, as we have wagered, military force.  If the President is correct in saying yesterday that we have spent a trillion dollars on war since 2001, consider the kind of economic, educational, and nutritional justice an additional one trillion dollars given to the developing word could have done for stability, peace, and public relations.  I’m just saying.

Metta World Peace, welcome to the planet, crazy diamond.

I should also say this: if your birth name is actually Lloyd B. Free, and you’re called “World” as a kid because you can jump like you’re in zero gravity and you spin-dunk like planet, you’re pretty much going to make the legal change 9 times out of 10. You owe it to yourself and to the Lloyd.

Seriously, though.  Growing up I never knew that Free was World’s own given surname.  Given the context of American history and the importance of naming conventions, that’s a birthright legacy to begin with, and a so-much-more than poignant witness to the power of endurance, hope, and freedom.  May we have these things in abundance, and every kind of peace.