7 Reasons You Need to Follow the NBA That Have Nothing to Do With Basketball

  • 1. Crazy Can’t Miss Outfits

    While much of NBA entertainment takes place on the court, there is also ample amusement to be found when peeking behind the scenes. Outfits of stars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Russell Westbrook often grab headlines and make for some interesting conversation in the blogosphere.

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  • 2. National B̶a̶s̶k̶e̶t̶b̶a̶l̶l̶ Rappers Association

    Although basketball may seem fun, it is also the jobs of these players–it’s how they make their livelihoods and provide for themselves and their families. Off the basketball court, a handful of players have gone to the microphone to rap as a hobby.

    Knicks guard Iman Shumpert has come out with a number of tracks over the last few years in New York, including “Knicks Anthem” off the “Clique” beat and his own remix of “Chiraq” with an extremely interesting (and NSFW) video to go with it.

    Lance Stephenson of the Hornets recently dropped a track, freestyling (using that term loosely) over Bobby Shmurda’s popular song, “Hot N****.” He references Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, leaving the Pacers, and coming to Charlotte.

    There have been other prominent players to dabble in the rap game, such as Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, and none other than Kobe Bryant.

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  • 3. Kicks on court

    Part of the appeal of NBA players is not just their play, but their swag as well. Sneakerheads live among teams, ranging from starters to reserves. The kick game has long been a part of the actual game, but with social media and applications such as Instagram, it is more prevalent than ever. Everyone from Andre Iguodala to Stephen Curry to Jabari Parker have been showing off their kicks for the season.

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  • 4. Following the NBA on Twitter

    As helpful as League Pass can be to ensure you watch your favorite teams and players, it is seemingly impossible to catch every posterizing dunk, ferocious block, and comical blooper that happens during each game every night. That is why Twitter is an ideal platform for fans of the league to share thoughts, funny memes, GIFs, and Vines.

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  • 5. The girlfriends and wives of NBA players

    For better or for worse–and more than ever before due to the rise of technology and instant news–the media will cover the personal lives of athletes, who are also considered larger-than-life celebrities. In the NBA, there are multiple high-profile couples who receive coverage, whether paparazzi follow them on vacation or fans take pictures of them in the arena. While there are well known couples such as Carmelo and La La Anthony or Jason and Porschla Kidd, among others, our favorite couple is Nick Young and Iggy Azalea, who never seem to have a dull moment.

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  • 6. Celebrity Appearances

    If you have ever watched a nationally televised game or happen to be at the arena in a large market location, chances are you have seen celebrities on the television or on the Jumbotron. Actors, music artists, and others have become a staple on the NBA floor, chatting with the players and, even in some cases, talking trash with them. (Yes, I’m talking about you, Spike Lee.)

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  • 7. NBA mascots

    From Benny the Bull and Pierre the Pelican to G-Wiz, mascots bring tons of fun to each game. Their dance battles and dunk contests add to the actual game entertainment. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia 76ers fans do not have a mascot — although they could really use a distraction from the product on the floor.

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  • Russell Westbrook
  • Lance Stephenson
  • Spike Lee, Kevin Love
  • Rocky

While fans are focused on the games taking place on the court, there is much more happening around the NBA than ever before. From interacting with celebrities courtside to posting YouTube videos of freestyles and Instagram photos of their sneakers, basketball aficionados are able to get to know their favorite players and teams on a whole new level.

Prior to this digital age we live in, fans either watched games on television or in-person, maybe checked their statistics, spoke about it with a few friends and well, that was it. Now, we rush to our phones after LeBron’s latest dunk or J.R. Smith’s most recent gaffe to tweet out our thoughts, interacting with hundreds of other die-hard fans and then repeatedly looking at the play.

Instead of just watching players, they are now in our ears, too. Iman Shumpert and Lance Stephenson combine to have hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits on their latest songs — and have shown a true talent for the rap game, too.

No longer must we wait in anticipation to see what the latest kicks players will be wearing — they’re posting the pictures on Instagram on a regular basis.

Although the NBA is still technically behind the NFL in terms of popularity, there is no doubt that basketball dominates the intersection of sport and swag, combining the talent on the floor with the style off it. These are the 7 Reasons You Need to Follow the NBA That Have Nothing to Do With Basketball.

Follow Matthew on Twitter at @MatthewHochberg