No college football or basketball.
The month of May provided sports fans with a wide variety of moments from horses to hoops, racing to retirements, to baseball and golf controversies, and these two really minor sporting events going on right now. Something called…hmm…what are they?
Oh! Yeah. Those two little things called
NBA and NHL playoffs.
It was an action packed filled month. But it was also a month that showed us resilience, determination and community. Yet again, when disaster strikes, boundaries of political, religious and yes, even sports lines, are dropped in the name of helping a neighbor as we saw in the aftermath of the tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma earlier this month.
Here’s my Sports Social Media Digest for May 2013
Word of the tornadoes spread quickly across the sports Twitterverse. The ferocity, the vastness and the aftermath shocked many. Sports stars and organizations were quick to respond.
OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) May 21, 2013
Thunder star, Kevin Durant, not only donated money to relief efforts but he donated his time too:
A few others of note who were moved to donate in whatever way they could:
NBA Cares (@nbacares) May 22, 2013
I'm giving $1000 for tonight's HR and every HR until the All-Star break for the victims of my hometown in OKC. #PrayforOklahoma—
Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) May 21, 2013
Just cleared our shelves for tornado victims. Thanks @UTexasEquipment for shipping donation up our way. Other donations appreciated!—
OU Equipment (@ouequipment) May 21, 2013
Prayers going out to my Home State... #Oklahoma.. I will be donating to help since I can't be there right now...—
Javon Harris (@JavonHarris30) May 21, 2013
Tornado season will end soon. But the recovery process will be a long one. Continue to keep everyone affected in your thoughts and prayers.
(For more pictures of the ongoing relief efforts, check out the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Instagram page .)
As the calendar turned to May, two of the longest playoff seasons in sports went into full effect: the NBA and NHL playoffs. Starting in April and not ending until June, the two leagues had varying degrees of interest and controversy during games and a mix of social media highlights and lowlights as well.
The NHL playoffs started off with a bang with two of the three opening games going to overtime. But there was one moment that generated huge response on social media:
Debate raged as to the legality of the hit:
I love teams/players that play really hard and physical. When players cross the line it is counterproductive to a success result!—
Mike Keenan (@CoachIronMike) May 03, 2013
I agree with Kerry Fraser , clean hit with a bad result !!! Hope Eller is ok—
Rick Tocchet (@RealRocket22) May 03, 2013
The Senators’ Eric Gryba would go on to be suspended two games for his hit on Eller. Eller has no recollection of the hit:
Lars Eller says he has no recollection of the 10 minutes of his life after the hit. Can't remember the hit or trying to get up - nothing.—
BrianWilde (@BWildeCTV) May 11, 2013
The games have been exciting with three of the eight first round series and two of the four conference semi-final series going the full seven games. I suppose I should be careful with using the word “exciting”. Although game 7’s in hockey tend to be epic, the playoffs themselves sparked their own debate as to whether they were exciting or not, as evidenced by this article from SB Nation and this brief Twitter exchange:
That has to do with a pay check? That is a bad analysis. Par for course with you. @DamoSpin—
Darren R Pang (@Panger40) May 29, 2013
One hockey story that went under the radar in sports/social media circles was this one on the banning of bodychecking in pee-wee hockey in Canada. From that CBC article:
Proponents of the national ban say it will help reduce the number of injuries among children — peewee players are usually 11- or 12-year-olds — while critics say it will prevent them from learning an important skill that is part of the game.
As passionate as Canadians are about their game, they are just as much so with peewee hockey:
@TSNBobMcKenzie hockey is already ridiculously expensive to play. Hockey needs a reason to keep kids playing. This is a good start.—
Darcy Woodhall (@KingWoodballs) May 25, 2013
@TSNBobMcKenzie It's Socialist sports! Bring the better, more gifted athletes down, so everyone can play..—
Wellsie63 (@DWells63) May 25, 2013
@TSNBobMcKenzie Too often we forget that its a "game". There's no way major head injuries can be justified at a young age in a "game".—
Jonathan Bertrand (@jobertrand13) May 25, 2013
Canada never has the guts to ask itself why males stop playing hockey during their peak physical years, age 14-25.—
Neate Sager (@neatebuzzthenet) May 25, 2013
What's most important in peewee? Hitting? Or staying healthy and having fun?—
Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) May 25, 2013
Before getting to the playoffs, there were a few off-court stories worth noting for the NBA. Perhaps the biggest story was an end to the Sacramento Kings’ ownership saga. For as much flux as the Kings were in under the Maloof ownership for the last few years, it seemed inevitable that with David Stern as commissioner, the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen had no chance of completing the purchase of the Sacramento franchise. Incumbency matters.
Bottom line for the Kings vote, as David Stern said, the edge goes to the incumbent if the ownership/arena deals are solid.—
Matt Winer (@matt_winer) May 15, 2013
I would like to thank the fans of Sacramento for all the love last night. LLTK http://t.co/oVYxt4msFN—
Chris Webber (@realchriswebber) May 24, 2013
Bleacher Report put together a great timeline, with social media elements, of the Kings’ saga, here.
Congratulations to Sacramento.
Tis the season for awards. The NBA Social Media Awards, that is.
The NBA Social Media Awards presented by SAP will be divided into various categories recognizing social activity across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more. Along with returning awards such as The BIG (Best In The Game) Award and The LOL (Laugh out Loud) Award, new categories this year include:
— #Trendsetter Award — for the player that displayed the best sense of style via social media;
— The 140 Award — for the player with the most impressive tweet of the year;
— The OMG Award — for the team with the best video shared via social;
— The Social Rook of the Year Award — for the rookie with the biggest increase in popularity across social media platforms.
Not everyone thinks this is a good thing:
The NBA's "Social Media Awards" sounds hilarious. Sometimes I wonder if the league is making fun of itself.—
Paulsen (@paulsen_smw) May 25, 2013
Despite the naysayers, the 2nd annual NBA Social Media Awards is a natural fit for the league. In the past year, the NBA has exploded in terms of engagement with fans on a multiple social media platforms. A small part of the reason the NBA and its teams have seen growth is not just because they’re using social media. Rather, they’re developing strategies to engage fans where they want. But I believe the bigger reason for the growth has come from fans themselves embracing social media in monumental numbers in the past year.
According to a report from GlobalWebIndexOne Pinterest may have dominated U.S. Growth in 2012, but Twitter had the largest global growth. In 2012, monthly worldwide active Twitter users grew 40% from Q2 to Q4, nearly a 288 million user increase. The new number means that 21% of the global worldwide population are active users. -MarketingLand.com
A 40% increase on just Twitter alone last year? I’d say a fair chunk of that 288 million includes sports fans. What strategies have some of the NBA teams used during the playoffs? Here’s a quick look at a few of the giveaways and messages from NBA playoff teams:
We hit 500K followers on Twitter! To thank you for your support, we're giving you a chance to win tickets to Game 5: nba.com/thunder/playof…—
OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) May 14, 2013
Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) May 10, 2013
Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) May 06, 2013
Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 31, 2013
Job well done by the Golden State Warriors during the playoffs. They were continually engaged, interactive and providing different social elements on all platforms.
Players back on court to thanks fans vine.co/v/bEdhDgjQuPu—
Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) May 17, 2013
In terms of social, besides teams and players, the fans also made news during these playoffs:
First up, the San Antonio Spurs “screaming lady“:
So everybody else heard the screaming lady during the Spurs-Warriors game last night? Whew. Wasn't just the voices in our head.—
(@SportsonEarth) May 07, 2013
That screaming lady at the Spurs game is taking a beating on Twitter. #nbaplayoffs—
Freddie Coleman (@ColemanESPN) May 07, 2013
Definitely not to be outdone, I present the Miami Heat lady:
NBA Legion (@MySportsLegion) May 09, 2013
And last but not least, sad Pacers fan:
Lisa Horne (@LisaHorne) May 27, 2013
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention perhaps the biggest sporting news “globally” in the world of soccer (football). Two of the biggest names in the sport announced their retirement:
As I just mentioned on @TalkSport, there have been more than 5m mentions of the Sir Alex story today on Twitter. Big day. G'night all!—
Lewis Wiltshire (@LewisWiltshire) May 08, 2013
BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 17, 2013
BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 19, 2013
While both had been rumored, the actual finality of the retirements of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Beckham seemed strange. And yet, it also feels entirely appropriate that they both leave on their own terms…together.
(@MUnitedGirl) May 19, 2013
Meanwhile, in a bit of a surprise match-up, FC Bayern met up with Bundesliga rival, Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) Final. Many had predicted early in the Champions League tournament that at least one, if not both, of the Spanish powerhouses, FC Barcelona or Real Madrid, would be there at the finish. But it was the two German outfits that endured and provided one of the more entertaining UCL games in recent memory.
On paper, FC Bayern was the heavy favorite, having run away from the rest of the Bundesliga during the season. But it was Dortmund who put on the pressure early with great skill, passing and wide open pressure. Bayern would score first but Dortmund would not be denied all game. It took a burden-lifting goal from Bayern’s Arjen Robben with only minutes left in the game to bring to a close an action-packed, well-played Champions League game.
Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) May 25, 2013
FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) May 26, 2013
Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) May 25, 2013
FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) May 26, 2013
How did this game stack up, socially?
Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 28, 2013
Other Top Moments In May SSM
- May 4 and 18: The first and third Saturdays in May brings hope to sports fans around the globe. A first step in a race toward history. History that has not been seen since the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, won it in 1978. A very muddy Kentucky Derby provided one of the pre-race favorites, Orb, the chance to “be” the long-awaited history-maker. Oxbow had other plans on the third Saturday in May, upsetting favorite Orb to win the Preakness Stakes by a length and three-quarters.
While we may not see a Triple Crown winner this year, the Kentucky Derby did leave us with some indelible moments. One particular sports celebrity comes to mind:
When Orb won the Kentucky Derby, Tom Brady did this. http://t.co/p9F173ygWG—
(@SportsNation) May 06, 2013
Two great pictures of the two winners from ESPN the Magazine:
ESPN The Magazine (@ESPNMag) May 17, 2013
ESPN The Magazine (@ESPNMag) May 19, 2013
- May 5: The Talladega Super Speedway has provided some dynamic races in NASCAR history. But this past month, gave us an interesting dynamic off the track, courtesy of Brad Keselowski.
Me thinks if someone looked at what happened on that restart they might feel differently about that finish.—
Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) May 06, 2013
mad as hell about that finish. We were suppose to line up 10th when the 34 switched lanes entering 3 before green. That lane won. BS—
Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) May 06, 2013
After further review, Keselowski would issue an apology. I have more on his tweets and the reaction to them in my “Passion > Boring” post. Make no mistake, I like those who are passionate about what they do. Keselowski, by all accounts, seems like a passionate guy…even on Twitter.
What makes twitter great- Inside access for everyone where real emotion and passion are authentically shared in the best & worst of times—
Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) May 07, 2013
- May 21: The NFL awarded two cities the privilege of hosting future Super Bowls. Houston will host Super Bowl LI while San Francisco precedes them by hosting Super Bowl L. The beloved Roman Numeral system used by the NFL generated some funny tweets but none funnier than this one:
Second straight year San Francisco gets a Super Bowl L. HEY-O.—
Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) May 21, 2013
Every time you say Super Bowl L will be played “in San Francisco,” a Niners fan cries.—
Erik Malinowski (@erikmal) May 21, 2013
As a Raiders fan, this seems so very unlikely given the current state of the franchise this last decade:
Now all we need is a Niners-Raiders Super Bowl L showdown. Then the Bay Area would explode.—
Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) May 21, 2013
- May 24, 26: Indy Car racing returned to the sports news forefront thanks to social media. This video spread like wildfire on Twitter and Reddit. At last check, this ending of the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights race had over 826k YouTube views. I guess that’s what happens when it’s a four-wide finish separated by only fractions of a second.
For a closer look at that finish:
Here's a picture of the Indy Lights finish: http://t.co/V8TwWrjgmh—
Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) May 24, 2013
That kind of finish only built up anticipation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. Before the race began, however…
Sarah Rumpf (@rumpfshaker) May 26, 2013
Vines from the day:
Yes! Jim Neighbors singing at Indy 500! vine.co/v/bVT62KAzqgW—
Kat Corbett (@KatCorbett) May 26, 2013
Mitchell Jacki (@starfoxmaster) May 26, 2013
Brazilian, Tony Kanaan, would emerge the winner of a somewhat controversial finish. Controversial in that the race finished under a yellow caution flag. As NBC Sports’ Motorsportstalk put it:
A case in point: in the immediate aftermath of an outcome like yesterday’s finish at the Indianapolis 500, there were enough tweets and comments on social media and message boards that “the finish sucked because there was no green-white-checkered!”
Yes, Twitter was filled with outcries, particularly from NASCAR circles, that it was a major letdown:
Frustrating as a viewer to think about the finish that might have been at Indy 500. Need a GWC rule. It’s a gimmick, yeah, but for the fans!—
Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) May 26, 2013
Seeing lots of NASCAR fans griping about yellow flag finish at Indy 500 - it's just different, doesn't make it bad.—
Jorge Andres Mondaca (@JorgeMondacaFOX) May 26, 2013
Despite the hullabaloo, the day ultimately belonged to Kanaan:
Doug Demmons (@dougdemmons) May 26, 2013
…and to his good friends Dario Franchitti and the late, Dan Wheldon:
Anyone remember which 2 drivers eulogized Dan Wheldon? The two that followed him into Indy's Victory Lane.—
Jake Query (@jakequery) May 26, 2013
Tony Kanaan (@TonyKanaan) May 27, 2013
Yet, as I finish writing this today, June 1, some people are still not willing to let go of that finish. And Tony Kanaan is not about to let anyone forget that the day belonged to him:
As is always the case, there are many more sports social media stories that were not included this month. If I added them all you’d be reading for a week, at least. Stories like the ESPN/SEC Network announcement (which spawned the hashtag #SECNetworkShows), Tim Tebow named most influential athlete, College Football Hall of Fame announced, MLB umpires continuing to get hammered for “obvious” mistakes, Wayne Rooney’s Twitter bio, Andrew Wiggins, Nick Saban “the devil himself”, the great GIF/JIF debate, Rutgers’ troubles and so-on and so-on. Never a dull moment in sports social media.
Good moments. Bad moments. It’s all-encompassing. So let’s end it on a funny note shall we?
Stop skidmarks. That's Charmin's message at Charlotte Motor Speedway for today's All Star race. http://t.co/4XeTwxSyjx—
Tripp Mickle (@trippmickle) May 18, 2013