We all know that twitter is the most successful Web 2.0 start-up which has surpassed in popularity other social networks.
NBA players have also paid attention to this short messaging service. One of the first NBA players I personally followed were Shaquille O'Neal and Nate Robinson. Among other NBA stars one can found on twitter such players as Jason Richardson, Steve Nash, Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh etc. Of course, there are many chances to come across a fake account when somebody proclaims he's the real Lebron James or D-Wade. Luckily, there is a twitter account with a self-describing name NBAPlayers, whose owner double checks and asks for proof so it's easier for you to be more or less sure that a certain twitter account belong to a respective NBA player.
For that reason I'd recommend to follow NBAPlayers, meanwhile I decided to find out how often NBA players twitter and which ones are most popular.
So, let's begin.
First of all, I summarized in the chart below who is the most fruitful twitterer. Without a surprise I discovered it was Shaq.
Shaq's got more than 1,200 tweets, while Charlie Villanueva, ranked second, got less than 1,000 tweets. You can also notice in the list Eric Snow, who isn't an active player anymore and has become an NBA analyst.
Then, I tried to find out who is the most popular NBA player in the twitter community. No wonder it's Shaq again, though the top list has some significant changes form the first one:
Shaq is again totally unreachable by others with more than 800,000 (!) followers, Paul Pierce has got more than 200,000 (looks like plenty of Boston Celtics fans use twitter), Jason Richardson is ranked 10th with slightly more than 13,000 followers.
Let's now find out who's got most friends on twitter (in other words, following other people's twitter accounts):
Now Shaq has surprisingly not captured the first position giving it up to Paul Pierce while going down to the third one. Jalen Rose is second. It gives me the reasons to suspect that it's not just Paul Pierce writing to his twitter account, because I found a lot of references to his website and other promotion programs. I think people managing his website decided to seriously use twitter as a marketing tool.
As for Shaq, I think he manages his twitter account alone. He doesn't tend to spoil his tweets with ads and that's the reason, imho, why he's ranked as one of the most popular twitterers overall (not only among athletes).
This brief overiew has been prepared with the help of such great web tools as Twitter API, Yahoo Pipes and Google Spreadsheets.