What do Legos, magic tricks and graffiti have in common? They are some of the many ways that NBA franchises’ social media teams have introduced their game schedules for the 2019-20 season.
The NBA, despite being awfully close to a year-round phenomenon, is currently in peak offseason. The Summer League is wrapped up, almost all the free agents have signed to their respective rosters, and many of the superstars who would be playing for Team USA right now decided to stay home during the 2020 Olympics.
Yet even the simple release of the 82-game NBA schedule can drive #NBATwitter and dominate social. Almost every team in the league had a unique video ready to go for when the schedule dropped, but five teams really came out firing.
First, some honorable mentions: The Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets both used puppy videos, which are always happily accepted; the Chicago Bulls’ use of graffiti did well to encapsulate Chicago; the Philadelphia 76ers brought out America’s Funniest Home Videos vibes; and the Sacramento Kings took the schedule reveal back to the NBA’s roots.
Many of the biggest franchises with the largest social media followings didn’t do much. The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets didn’t create much of note to help hype their schedules. Most just relied on their superstar fans and then retweeted their reactions (must be nice).
So which teams really stepped up the creative game this year? We’ve ranked our Top 5 favorites:
No. 5: Los Angeles Clippers
The newly rejuvenated Clippers have a lot to be excited for this season. The team added not only defending NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, but also nabbed Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Those moves make them the odds-on favorite to win the NBA title this year.
As for their schedule, they went with a comic book theme. Using multiple art styles, the team told succinct stories about some of their biggest rivals. George and Leonard stare across the Staples Center at LeBron and Anthony Davis in the first story, the top teams in the Eastern Conference embark on a Mad Max style road race in the second, and a cookout with some Western Conference rivals finishes off the book.
It’s a unique idea that is well executed and shows the Clippers have their sights set on the best teams in the NBA.
No. 4. Golden State Warriors
While many top teams phoned in the schedule release this year, the same can’t be said for the Golden State Warriors. The NBA’s most recent dynasty showcased a connection to the Bay City area by way of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, better known as BART.
The team is moving from Oracle Arena in Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district and took some players on a trip from stadium to stadium. The signage around the train showed the new schedule, including the coincidentally named “clipper” cards.This release told a quick story, showed the schedule in a fun way and finished up on a great shot of the team’s new home.
No. 3: San Antonio Spurs
Connecting to your team’s audience is crucial in good social media work, and the Spurs did a great job tailoring this release around their Latino fans. They created unique Lotería cards for each of the 32 NBA teams. Lotería is a game of chance, similar to Bingo, that originated in Mexico.
Instead of ping-pong balls, Lotería numbers are drawn from unique cards adorned with colorful pictures. The short story features the mascot and shows off the full schedule. Some of the artwork is tough to see in the initial video release, but a follow-up tweet shows the detail that went into each card design. They are also one of the few teams to have their schedule release be sponsored, as the Spurs tossed a Budweiser bottle into the top-left corner of the display.
No. 2: Indiana Pacers
We’ve seen teams riff on streaming services before, but the Pacers really took it to another level. They embodied the entire Netflix process from opening the app and choosing a profile, to browsing while watching previews and finally being rudely prompted to keep watching.