The games took place 25 years apart, but when they were re-aired on NBA TV’s Hardwood Classics this summer, they had one new element in common: the star of each game took over the @NBATV Twitter handle and live-tweeted.
During game six of the 1988 NBA Finals, Isiah Thomas (@iamisiahthomas) took over the third quarter, scoring 25 points on a bum ankle in a legendary performance. The Pistons guard shared his thoughts on the action on August 27 when he live-tweeted a broadcast of it.
Watching the game right now my palms are sweaty. I remember the butterflies in my stomach at the start of the game. #IsiahLive— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 28, 2013
Unlike the game itself (which Detroit lost 103-102 to the Lakers), Thomas’ takeover was a big win for @NBATV: @iamisiahthomas created a social buzz as fans joined the conversation via the hashtag #IsiahLive.
Never been excited to see someone go down with an ankle injury before. But knowing what’s about to happen, I’m giddy. #IsiahLive— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) August 28, 2013
Two weeks later, the network handed over the reins once again, this time to former Bulls guard Nate Robinson. On Sept. 11, Robinson live-tweeted the Hardwood Classics replay of his memorable 34-point performance in game 4 of the Bulls’ first-round playoff series against the Nets last season.
The takeovers brought about a surge of followers to the Twitter accounts involved. @NBATV gained 1,891 new followers as a result of #NateLive, while @Nate_Robinson himself gained 1,007. @iamisiahthomas saw a 443% increase from his daily average due to #IsiahLive.
Multiple platforms were instrumental in promoting and sustaining the events.
NBA TV made announcements on the air before the games to follow the hashtags on Twitter, then showed the Tweets on screen during the games.
For the numbers-loving crowd, @nbastats also tweeted out stats and graphs during the games.
Buzz on Twitter didn’t just come from the parties involved; other notable NBA-related Twitter accounts, including those of former All-Star Baron Davis (@Baron_Davis), ESPN writer J.A. Adande (@jadande) and Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover), drove social commentary.
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