The NBA Finals wrapped up this week with the Golden State Warriors claiming their 2nd victory in 3 years and Kevin Durant getting his 1st title.

This series drew the highest engagement on social media of any of the past 3 – which all featured the same teams, mind you.

So not only was KD the difference-maker on the court, his presence was felt on social as well.

Our 2017 NBA Finals impact report has the full breakdown of engagements per game as well as the key moments and TV social lift impact for advertisers.

I shared some of our findings with Terry Collins from CNET and his article keyed in on the symbiosis of the NBA and social media.

One of the threads Terry and I talked about that didn’t make his piece was how social media has impacted each player’s value to sponsors.

Like me, Terry is a native Chicagoan and we both had the pleasure of watching Michael Jordan and the Bulls dominate in the 1990s.

I couldn’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if social media had been a thing back then.

Throughout his career Jordan meticulously crafted his brand and kept a polished public image while engaging in some scandalous behavior – this being the least of it.

It’s hard to picture MJ posting a video to Instagram while rocking out in a limo like LBJ is wont to do.

But in today’s world, social media is a way of life. It helps connect players and fans in an authentic way. And it’s a major driver of brand value.

When players negotiate contracts with sponsors, the numbers that matter most are not just points per game and championship rings but also social media stats.

To that end, LeBron James took the Finals crown with 4,168,960 social media engagements during the series. Durant came in second with 2,201,953. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry generated 1,890,851.

So while Curry has the most rings, he trails the pack on social and thus it’s no surprise he’s lagging behind James and Durant in endorsements not to mention the famous Nike snub.

Bottom line, in 2017, to be a total package you have to get it done on and off the court. And LBJ is clearly the standout.

As for MJ, who knows what impact social media would’ve had on “His Airness” but it would certainly have been a game-changer.

Hold on to your dribble for more of 4C’s Insights.

Read the rest of 4C’s Insights Volume 60 here.

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