Saturday, June 23, 2012

NBA Social Media Awards: Winners & Watermarks

 The New Jersey Nets' Gerald Green throws down -- and snags The Social Slam Award.

The digital carpet rolled out this week for nominees of the NBA’s inaugural social media awards. Honors were doled out for 13 categories by hosts Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal, with additional entertainment coming from SLAM magazine’s Lang Whitaker and stalwart Canadian bloggers J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas of The Basketball Jones.

Marked by a one-hour telecast on NBATV, the official NBASMA press release states that nominations were dependant upon “which [moments] resonated with fans and sparked the most social engagement this season” – meaning which plays received the most attention on Twitter and numerous other social networking avenues.

The Los Angeles Lakers were the night’s biggest winners, claiming “The Social MVT (Most Valuable Team)” award as Kobe Bryant received individual recognition by winning the “#Trendsetter” and “Thumbs-Up” awards, which both tallied mentions and likes on their respective social networks.

The Lakers did have to revisit their Feb. 12 meeting versus Jeremy Lin, though, as the sophomore’s 38-point performance was named “Epic” by fans voting for their favorite regular season game.

A full list of winners can be seen at the official NBA website, and while the awards are a fun addition to The Association’s programming, they’re also something more. They’re a watermark for social media and how pervasive it has become to society. As athletes become increasingly willing to share personal thoughts, daily routines and behind the scenes peeks with fans – and as the NBA continues to be the savviest sports league in social media – how far behind can other organizations be?

Whether it’s brilliant or merely the beginning of equalization between national sports leagues and, say, the local Lion’s Club, the NBA Social Media Awards are definitely one thing right now – unique.

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