NBA Facebook

Facebook users like the NBA. A lot.

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The NBA gets it. Twitter, Facebook, not ripping down videos off of YouTube. The NBA has embraced both the Web and social media.

And that has put them light years ahead of the other major sports leagues in this arena. That was highlighted at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (and reported at TrueHoop, who killed it all weekend). Nick Grudin, who works for Facebook on the Media Partnerships team, broke out the numbers in a panel at the conference.

According to Grudin, NBA fans are most active on Facebook, and it’s not close, as 7.6 million fans “like” the NBA, compared to just 2.6 million for the NFL and less than a million for MLB. Facebook is the NBA’s No. 2 referral source for traffic, seeing nine times as much traffic as it did a year ago. The NBA embraced Facebook before the other leagues, and the league is reaping the benefits in traffic.

Team-wise it’s about what one would expect with the Lakers (6.2 million), Celtics (3.4), Heat (2.6) and Bulls (1.4) ahead of the pack.

The Lakers, Celtics and Heat have more Facebook likes than the NFL. That is the NFL. The 800-pound gorilla of American sports.

Why does this mater? Because as Grudin notes, being a fan is a shared, interactive experience. You want to talk with fellow fans about Derrick Rose’s last second shot, Blake Griffin’s dunk, a trade that your team should make, why the coach sucks, how Mike Bibby couldn’t guard you on the playground. Now, more and more people are doing that talking online through Facebook and the rest rather than in a bar.

Combine that with the younger demographics of the NBA than the other major sports — a group who embraces this online technology — and you have a perfect storm. One that could help the NBA grow its popularity over time.

Well, unless the lockout kills all that momentum.

C.J. McCollum ejected for flagrantly fouling Gordon Hayward (video)

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I’m not sure C.J. McCollum meant to grab Gordon Hayward‘s neck. The 6-foot-8 Hayward elevated, and the 6-foot-4 McCollum just might not have been able to get high enough to make a play on the ball.

But McCollum did grab Hayward’s neck.

It was a dangerous and unnecessary play, especially in the preseason.

Report: Mavericks may be team interested in Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders
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The Dallas Mavericks are looking for a center— desperately at times, they brought JaVale McGee into training camp to get a look. They will start Zaza Pachulia and behind him it’s probably Samuel Dalembert once he gets healthy.

Which is why Dallas may be the team interested in Larry Sanders — Mark Cuban is a guy known for giving second chances in the league. But there have been no talks, yet, reports Tim MacMahon at ESPN.

Larry Sanders has been out of the game since his buyout last February trying to deal with his personal demons and may well not be ready to return. He may never return.

His couple seasons with the Bucks were filled with drama and issues. There was the nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. There were the charges of animal cruelty. There was a five-game drug suspension. There was missed time for personal reasons. There was the 10-game suspension for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there) — then that suspension was extended past the 10 games. In the end, he agreed to a buyout to get space away from the game to deal with his personal issues.

He may or may not be ready to return from that. He may or may not ever be ready. But if he decides to give it a try, NBA teams will be waiting. Maybe Dallas.