NBA Social Recap, Week 21: Supporting Women, Making History
The NBA and WNBA made major waves across social media on International Women’s Day. From defiant statements to heartwarming brand integrations, basketball showed once again just how “woke” its world really is within the realm of sports. Here are the top hoops-related posts from Twitter and Instagram from Week 21 of the 2018-19 season, with a nod or two toward other historic achievements.
5) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Congratulates LeBron James on Passing Michael Jordan
LeBron James leapfrogging Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list brought all manner of congratulations to the fore, including from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The leading scorer in league history hopped on Instagram to share his remembrances of passing his idol (Wilt Chamberlain) back in 1984 and answer those who’ve been asking how he’d react to his own record being broken. “If and when that happens,” Kareem says, “I’ll be glad that it’s somebody that has shown as much class and caring as you have.”
4) Kevin Love Salutes Adam Silver’s Take on Modern-Day NBA Anxiety
Over the past year, Kevin Love has become a leading voice among professional athletes when it comes to mental health. So when NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke at the 2019 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference about “unhappiness” among players amid an era of locker-room isolation and social-media obsession, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ All-Star forward was sure to chime in. Better yet, Kevin chose to do so on Twitter on what happened to be the one-year anniversary of publishing his groundbreaking piece about his own struggles with mental health, entitled “Everyone is Going Through Something,” on The Players’ Tribune.
3) International Women’s Day Brings Things Full Circle for Stephen Curry
In November 2018, nine-year-old Riley Morrison wrote a letter to Stephen Curry asking why Under Armour wasn’t selling his signature sneaker in the girl’s section of the brand’s website. Nearly four months later, Steph and Under Armour released a colorway of his shoe—the UA ICON Curry 6 United We Win—featuring details designed by Riley, and awarded Bay Area native Vivian Wu with a $30,000 scholarship to help her pursue a course of study in STEM. Their story is a testament to the power of the pen to make change in the world—especially when the person on the receiving end has already pledged support for women’s issues to the extent that Steph has.
2) The NBPA Honors Michele Roberts on International Women’s Day
Steph Curry is no longer a member of the National Basketball Players Association’s Executive Committee, though he, too, would likely attest to the power, passion and expertise that Michele Roberts has brought to the role of Executive Director. That Michele is the first woman to lead the union of a major North American sport made her story all the more remarkable—and, in turn, all the more important and pertinent to highlight on International Women’s Day.
1) Liz Cambage’s Powerful Message on International Women’s Day
The WNBA may be on the backburner during the NBA season, and Australia may be far from the epicenter of the basketball world. But neither of those factors stopped Liz Cambage from turning heads on International Women’s Day. During a panel discussion at Twitter’s offices in Australia, the 2018 WNBA MVP runner-up clapped back at the haters she faces on social media by flipping old tropes about domestic gender roles on their heads.
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.