LeBron James, Miami Heat ignite Facebook with NBA Finals victory


As LeBron James and the Miami Heat won their second consecutive NBA title Thursday night, Facebook was abuzz with posts about the game. The NBA posted behind-the-scenes photos, James thanked his fans, and Nike even utilized the new video features on Instagram for a popular and engaging post. Facebook reported that there were more than 100 million Facebook engagements leading up to Thursday’s night decisive seventh game of the NBA Finals.

According to PageData, Miami’s people talking about this metric (PTAT) hit a playoff-high 791,703 on Wednesday and maintained that total through Thursday.

Facebook also took a look at how the country showed their rooting interests through the site, finding that while the Heat were more popular on both coasts, the San Antonio Spurs were well-liked throughout the middle of the country.


According to Facebook, James (who earned the title of NBA Finals MVP) was easily the most talked about player for either team leading up to the seventh game, accounting for 70 percent of the discussion. He had eight times as many mentions as the second-most-talked-about player, San Antonio’s Tony Parker.

Facebook showed other terms that were popular on the site during the Finals:

As for most-talked-about moments, Facebook buzz spiked when Miami’s Ray Allen hit one of the biggest shots of his career, sinking a huge three-pointer to force Game 6 into overtime. “Heat”, “overtime”, “Ray Allen” and even “shuttlesworth” – a reference to Allen’s acting role in the basketball-themed movie “He Got Game” – all had huge increases when he nailed that shot. The terms “Ray Allen” and “shuttlesworth” spiked more than 200,000% and 300,000%, respectively.

Chatter about San Antonio’s Tony Parker helped beef up the buzz about his team, especially after throwing a buzzer-beating, “circus shot” at the end of Game 1 to seal the win. Mentions of Parker’s name were running low throughout that game, but spiked more than 8,000% after his 18-foot banker clinched it for the Spurs.

But the most engaging posts, by far, came in the moments after Miami’s pivotal victory.

From the Miami Heat Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 10.52.12 PM


From the NBA’s Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 10.54.05 PM

From James’ page:

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 10.52.43 PM

On ESPN’s Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 11.20.17 PM

Nike, which outfits James’ shoes, posted a video to Instagram Thursday night, playing a message from NBA legend Bill Russell, and encouraging fans to leave a congratulating message for James. Nike is the most popular brand on Instagram, with more than 1.6 million followers. The post quickly gained more than 33,000 likes in just a few hours following the game. Interestingly enough, James has more than 2.6 million followers on Instagram, yet has not posted a photo since April.


LeBron James image courtesy of Domenic Gareri / Shutterstock.com.

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