As the NBA playoffs start there is no hotter team to touch the floor then the Philadelphia 76ers. Entering the playoffs on a sixteen-game win streak the team looks like a lock for the conference finals and has been talked about all over social media. However, the level that the 76ers have been playing as has come at a bit of a surprise as they are led by three young stars Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, and Ben Simmons. Since the beginning of the season ESPN analyst such as Colin Cowherd have doubted the legitimacy of the young sixers. Now, With the health concern on star, Joel Embiid, the sixers have to prove themselves.
Starting center Joel Embiid has done his best to “Trust the Process” through adversity, boasting the team’s greatness all over social media since the beginning of the season. He uses his Twitter account to “troll” other players and process doubters. He has been every influential through his social media accounts as millions retweet him and share his posts. Joel has also been courting pop culture stars like Rihanna with direct tweets at her on his account. This has become part of Joel’s identity because now his fans expect him to continue to entertain on social media.
Although, it is common for sports stars to be positively influential on social media, it is also just as common for them to slip up. We have seen countless American sports stars make regretful comments or inappropriate remarks on their accounts. These instances have all been detrimental to the stars image because it gives the fans more of an insight on the person character. In these such cases where they say something that could be offensive it can instantly scar the legacy or reputation of that particular person.
Joel Embiid has been one of the few stars to continuously improve his image on social media platforms. With the 76ers entering as the hottest team in the league, it has even become easier for Joel Embiid to increase his following as many fans are naturally hopping on the bandwagon. Of course, with the bold claims and hot takes that Joel has been taking, the 76ers will have to keep their play at a high level to make his comments legit. This does make Joel “trolling” the internet risky but so far it has seemed to pay off.
With the future looking bright for the young and talented 76ers Joel Embiid must be careful on what he posts on his account since it has become so popular. As we know, the social media can put anyone under a microscope and anything said will be seen instantly by millions. Nonetheless, Joel Embiid has been an example of a star that is positively influential through his social media. His post has made millions laugh and join him on the “The Process”. IF the 76ers can continue their performance, Joel’s claims will make him even more of a social media mogul.
For most NBA stars, the sport of basketball has been their entire life throughout their careers. This means that it tends to be rare to see an NBA star be successful in something other than basketball during their time in the league. However, this is not the case for current Portland Trail Blazer’s star, Damian Lilliard. Over the past few years Damian Lilliard has been working on his artistic career by releasing Hip-Hip music to the public. Although the majority of his fans recognize him for being an NBA All-Star, he is slowly gaining credibility and popularity for his talent off the court.
Even though most NBA stars have only been successful in basketball, Damian Lilliard is not the first to try this maneuver. Past NBA stars such as Kobe “bean” Bryant, Shaq, and Ron Artest have released hip-hop music while under NBA contract. This is not extremely surprising as the hip-hop and basketball cultures have been intertwined since the 1980’s with one influencing the other. However, these players made music that did not receive much praise and was looked at as merely a joke. For this reason, many players have tended to shy away from trying to pursue dual careers.
Damian Lilliard has not fallen into the pattern of failed NBA stars trying to become artists. Over the last few years, and while being an All-NBA player, Damian has managed to gained popularity through his musical talents. He has been using applications such as sound cloud to express himself via hip-hop. Damian has even become so popular to be on viral radio shows such as Funk Master Flex. On this radio show he performed numerous freestyles as well as provided insight on his musical career. Damian has also been seen receiving praise from successful hip-hop moguls which gives his music some actual credibility.
It will be interesting to see what moves Damian makes in the future to further his musical career as it has shown potential already. Although it is easy for him to claim himself a basketball superstar he needs to have accomplishments in the music industry to become a serious artist. If Damian Lilliard becomes successful in multiple industries it will truly be an inspiring achievement. Damian has the potential to put his names next to greats like Kanye West for example who has become successful in multiple industries being music and fashion.
Time will tell whether Damian Lilliard will take advantage of his current status. Nonetheless, he has proven himself a role model taking the chance on another career while already well estabslihed. Millions of young fans that watch him play in the league can also hear him as an artist too which is a way for him to connect personally. All in all, Damian has shown true stardom and shows that he has a bright future no matter what he chooses to do.
In the sport of basketball there are constant arguments of who is the king of the court. For most arguments, the winner is the most effective player at scoring the basketball. Traditionally, players get the ball inside and thrive off of creating the easiest shot. However, something basketball fans can agree is that the NBA style of scoring is changing. Players and teams have been throwing up 3- pointers at an all time high. This shift in style has come to because of Stephen Curry’s tendencies and effectiveness around the perimeter.
As the Son of Dell Curry, Steph had expectations at an early age to be a talented ball player. After attending the university of Davidson, Steph Curry joined the warriors who were not even close to being a contender in the West. After starting out generally slow in the NBA, statistically speaking, Curry has now settled in to his own style using his quickness and ball skills. With these abilities Steph Curry has demonstrated he can create space whenever he feels the need. This has allowed him to get himself free for the shots that he would like to take.
After watching Steph play for the last few years and rack up multiple MVP awards, I was not the biggest fan of his. However, it is clear that Steph has used his talents to play the game not only efficiently, but differently than other players. According to NBA.com, Steph Curry set the record for most threes made in a single season (272) in 2012. Since 2012, Curry has placed in top 5 All time in threes made twice more. In 2014 he sunk an NBA record of 286 threes as well as dropping 261 in 2013. All these totals also being the most in the league in each of their respective seasons. Steph Curry has shown that he will shoot the 3-point ball more than anyone in league history while doing so at a high average.
As the Warriors have become almost guaranteed annual finals appearances, Steph Curry has been a huge star of the leabue. He has not only earned countless awards but also led the league in jersey sales showing that he is a popular player by fans. Steph Curry has also received his own shoe deal and multiple endorsements with large, household name, companies. However, I feel that his greatest impact on the culture of his stardom has been the three ball. This is because since Stephen Curry first broke the 3-point record, the league has attempted 3-point shots at an all time rate. Teams have been slowing down on breaks more often and attempting open threes. Players that have not been known for their deep shots have also attempted more.
As a Two-Time champ Stephen Curry’s play is respected and watched by payers around the league. After seeing the effectiveness of his long range shooting, players have decided to evolve their game. This change is similar to the physicality of the game changing in the 80s-90s to the 21stcentury but in a mental sense. Steph Curry has shown that the three pointer can win games which is obviously the most important concern for a coach. I believe that players and coaches have learned from Steph Curry’s style and formulated it into their own game plan. Although people like myself may not be fans of Stephen Curry, they have to be aware of the effect he has had on the NBA in the last couple years.
Most people that I grew up with will tell you that their favorite player is either Kobe or LeBron or MJ who are obviously popular favorites in the United States. However, over the last 5 years a young force named Gianni’s Antetokounmpo has become a household name. Well not exactly, “Giannis Antetokounmpo” because most of his fans know him as “The Greek Freak”. A name which is not just catchy but also represents where he comes from. Giannis Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, Greece and decided to bring his talents overseas to the NBA. Although he is not the first popular player from overseas, I believe he is on his way to becoming the biggest overseas star in history.
Since coming into the league in 2013, Giannis used his 7-foot wingspan to make unbelievable athletic plays. Also, with respectable ball handling skills, Giannis has made himself a perennial all- star as well as Top scorer in the league next to stars like LeBron (Basketball-Reference). He has become popular with his highlight dunks and blocks showing that he dominates on both ends of the floor. Not only is he playing well, he is doing all of this for the Milwaukee Bucks franchise who has recorded awful records over the last decade. This shows that Giannis is dedicated to playing hard and putting the team on his back which I think is reason for a lot of his stardom.
The Greek Freak’s popularity is very important for the NBA’s future and our modern culture. Although people recognize stars such as overseas talents Manu Ginobli and Marco bellinelli that have shown they can compete in the NBA, they have never really been anyone’s favorite or made the cultural impact. As Giannis is one the NBA’s top jersey sales proving that he is becoming many young American fan’s favorite player and they are buying his 13 letter uniform. This is important for our society as it is crucial to being accepting of people from other places to be successful here in the United States especially in the harsh social times that we live in today. NBA fans want the competition to be the best and to have the best talents in the world. It is great to see someone born in another place been accepted by people unlike him while becoming the hero of million Americans.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will be especially important for the future of the NBA. If “TheGreek Freak” continues to be one of the best players in the league, many stars from other countries will be influenced to bring their talents the National Basketball Association. It would be very good for the leagues talent level as well as diversity if these players from other countries feel that they can be comfortable in a foreign leagues. Also, young kids overseas might follow in Gianni’s shoes and also feel comfortable coming into the NBA if they know they can become popular in the United States even thought they are originally from somewhere else.
In most of my posts on NBA Culture I have discussed the cultural impact that veteran stars have had on society. Unlike those posts, I will be talking about a star just emerging in the league. Also in previous posts I have bragged about these stars’ statistics and performance in the league. Kelly Oubre, on the other hand, isn’t being noticed for his jaw dropping numbers. Since entering the league as a first round pick in the 2015 draft he has only averaged 7.2 ppg. However, this season Kelly Oubre has averaged 11.9 points showing that he has scoring potential (ESPNstats). Nonetheless, he was not going to be noticed for bringing crazy numbers every night. Kelly Oubre decided to gain his stardom by bringing streetwear style to the NBA.
Fans go crazy over what their favorite stars are wearing before games as well as on the court. Past stars such as Allen Iverson have previously brought new style to league and gained a lot of respect for it. Young fans all over the world dressed liked Allen Iverson which shows how much of an influence his style was. Now, with the help of social media and TV broadcasting NBA players are able to express themselves through their outfits. Kelly Oubre has used this opportunity to make himself a popular played by wearing new wave outfits. Recently, videos and pictures of Kelly Oubre wearing a Supreme arm sleeve on court went viral. This was impactful because it put all eyes on Kelly Oubre as it was a bold outfit choice. That specific piece has been extremely popular as it is made by a famous and nostalgic company that is Supreme. The gear is very “hyped” in the street wear market as well as popular in modern culture. Since going viral, Kelly Oubre has taken advantage of his new found attention.
After finding this way to express himself as a person and also gain popularity, Kelly Oubre has been seen in popular magazines and online articles. He also found in top rated outfit blogs such as The Undefeated and highsnobiety. In these interviews he is talked about for wearing popular brands as well as collaborating with popular designer brands. I think this has been a good move for Kelly Oubre as he is able to share his personality as well as create relationships outside of basketball. As a person that is a fan of basketball and fashion it has allowed me to be an admirer of Kelly Oubre to go after two passions. I believe that this is important for young fans as well because they can see that you do not have to limit yourself to loving one thing.
In the future it is likely that Kelly Oubre gains more followers and fans from both street wear admirers and NBA followers. I believe that his style will start to be influential on his younger fans as well. Kids will see Kelly Oubre on the court wearing something and immediately search for it for themselves. This is great for the NBA because it will bring the street wear culture into the NBA which is a group of people who may not normally be fans of the NBA. With a league that has previously banned stars’ style expressions such as Michael Jordan, it is great to see that Kelly Oubre is successfully pushing the boundaries as well.
In high school Kyrie Irving was one of the most spectacular talents ever seen. When I was in high school I got to see him play multiple times since we were both attending New Jersey schools. No matter where he traveled within the state the house was always packed to see his incredible abilities. Throughout high school he proved that he can effectively score the basketball as well as make his team better with his passing vision. Kyrie also became well known for his ability to finish at the basketball and his insane dribbling skills. All in all, Kyrie was a very hyped player, eventually leading him to attend Duke University. At Duke he continued to be a high level player and made his way to become the number one overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft.
Taking over the league
Since entering the NBA Kyrie has become a star of the league. He has proven that he can take all his talents and use them to dominate in the best basketball league in the world. While Playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers he led his team in scoring and assist every season. Highlights of his fancy dribbling and passing have littered social media reaching a mass audience. This means that anyone with access to the internet has a chance of coming across him. Since becoming a perennial all-star, Kyrie has also raised his value as his player and earned him a sizeable contract. As we all know, the Cavaliers brought back LeBron James to his hometown to team up with Kyrie thus earning them the 2016 NBA championship. As teammates Kyrie and LeBron battled the stacked Golden State Warriors. These star packed teams went head to head and made a trend for recruiting all possible stars for rings. LeBron is argued to have started this trend since taking his talents to South Beach and then returning to Kyrie’s Cavs. Since then teams such as the Warriors and Thunder have gathered all possible stars hoping for maximum championships. Although some hate these movements by the stars and teams, one can not argue that it has changed the league. Teams are now gathering as many star as possible like a formula every year. However, Kyrie Irving made a very impactful decision in the 2017 offseason.
After playing with the Cavaliers since the draft and teaming up with arguably the best player in the world, Kyrie decided to take his talents to the team with the most total rings, The Boston Celtics. This decision was vital for shaping Kyrie’s legacy because it went against the trend mentioned above. After LeBron made his decisions to leave players like Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George have all teamed up with other perennial all-stars with hopes of solidifying their careers with championships. This trend has shown weakness in these stars and lack of confidence because it shows they do not believe they can win with their current teams. Kyrie was unique and chose a great organization with a talented young coach in Brad Stevens. Now since the start of the 2017-18 season Kyrie has led the Celtics to the best record in the east, better then is former team, the Cavs. Kyrie has shown confidence in himself that he can create a championship team without linking with well known players. This move is important for the culture because it demonstrates a talented player continuing to prove himself and create greatness wherever he goes. In the future, I am assuming that other star players will follow Kyrie’s lead to prove themselves as well.
Sources: ESPN – Kyrie Irving Bio
As the NBA continues to be one of the most popular sports leagues in the United States fans always want to know more about stars. The media caters to this need by asking stars’ pivotal questions about the game, the season, the team, etc. As a player, it seems that the right way to address the media is always to be in a way that positively impacts the fans and analyst that value the responses. Sometimes, players may give responses that are not fully honest in order have the positive reputation and affects. I feel that in the last few years we have been blessed by a league star who has been a pioneer for speaking his honest mind to the press. This star is called Russell Westbrook, the NBA’s MVP of last regular season. Coming from California Russell stayed home and attended the beautiful school, UCLA. Since being picked 4th overall in the 2008 draft, Russell Westbrook has demonstrated his demeanor on the court. With his incredible athleticism Russell makes highlight plays every time he touches the hardwood floor. He is known to be a very self kept man and shows his emotions through his play. However, he is also becoming known for his truth in his public statements.
Since beginning his professional career in the league in 2008, Russell Westbrook has logged insane numbers which have allowed him to rack up his record breaking Triple-doubles. As stated he is known for his athleticism but also the amount of passion he shows on the court. I believe that the passion and energy we see from Russell has always been present in his encounters with the media. In my last blog post I spoke on LeBron as a role model. Similar to LeBron, Russell has set the bar in a way of his own. Russell speaks his mind time after time no matter what question the media asks him. A perfect example is the well know video of Russell refusing to answer a question saying “What are you talking about bro?”. Although it may not seem politically correct, he is speaking the true mind of his young fans and bringing their culture into the game. This shows that Russell doesn’t care if this is what the analyst and critics want to hear, it is what the fans need to hear.
Another instance of Russell being real was during the Kevin Durant leaving aftermath. I feel that other stars may not be so true regarding their emotions in departures of this scale. Nonetheless Russ spoke from his heart and gave emotional statements about the situation. This was an opportunity for fans to connect with Russell through his hard times. This is because Russ was in a very relatable reality where the end of a friendship is truly devastating. For these reasons, it was very personal and reached the heart of many fans.
A topic that I also talked about in recent posts was about the use of social media. Social media, of course, has made the world ubiquitous. This gives Russell and other players the ability to directly express himself to his fans as well as to the media. After viewing some of Russell’s tweets it his clear that the man is honest and true in his statements. Although, there has been times when Russell has talked to ways in fans that could be deemed as inappropriate by some, I believe this is a way he shows that he is a person just like everyone else. I truly respect Russell for the realness he has brought to the league. I feel that many young fans appreciation him for this character attribute and connect with him.