The number of followers an organization or person has on social media determines their popularity in today's world, it's no different in the case of the NBA. Almost all the teams have a significant presence online.
Ten most-followed NBA franchises on Instagram
In this list, we will take a look at the ten most popular NBA franchises on Instagram.
The reigning NBA champions, the LA Lakers, are one of the more popular ones on the platform. However, the popularity of a franchise is not always proportionate to its success, but winning naturally helps a franchise.
Let's take a look at the 10 most followed NBA franchises on Instagram.
#10 Toronto Raptors - 3.2 million
The 2018-19 NBA champions, Toronto Raptors, popularity has increased in the last few years. Of course, 'winning' contributed to their rise but the process had started several years even before the franchise won their first NBA title.
The Raptors have 3,296,105 followers on Instagram.
What has helped the Raptors, almost together with their on-court success, was also the recurrent presence of Canadian artist Drake, who is seen courtside on every Raptors' home game cheering his team.
Drake has a partnership with the Toronto Raptors through his OVO brand, and he is also the Official Global Ambassador of the team.
Since 2013, the Raptors have seven consecutive winning seasons and seven appearances in the NBA Playoffs. The team reached the 2019 NBA Finals and won the NBA title.
#9 LA Clippers - 3.3 million
The LA Clippers have historically been LA's second NBA franchise, and their popularity hasn't been great. Having the Lakers in town and sharing their home court has not been very helpful for the Clippers, as the LA Lakers are probably basketball's biggest franchise.
The LA Clippers have 3,361,264 followers on Instagram.
The team has enjoyed relative success in recent years. The Clippers have made it to the NBA Playoffs eight times in the last nine NBA seasons. In fact, the franchise has had five seasons with at least 50 wins during the regular season, and all over the last eight years.
#8 Miami Heat - 4.5 million
The current Eastern Conference Champions, Miami Heat, rank eighth among the most followed NBA franchises on Instagram.
Miami Heat has 4,565,806 followers on Instagram.
Naturally, the team has been quite popular since 2004, when Shaquille O'Neal arrived. They won the 2006 NBA championship with Dwyane Wade and O'Neal as their main players, then LeBron James joined in 2010, and the franchise became super-popular.
They played four straight NBA Finals from 2011 to 2014, winning two titles in 2012 and 2013.
The Heat has played in the NBA Playoffs,14 of the last 20 NBA seasons, including six NBA Finals and have won three titles.
#7 Oklahoma City Thunder - 4.6 million
The OKC Thunder remain a solid NBA franchise even after losing three MVPs in the last 10 years (Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook).
The team has 4,656,247 followers on Instagram.
The franchise is new, but its roots are grounded in the most iconic franchises in the NBA -- the Seattle Supersonic. It's not surprising to see them on this list. In fact, OKC has been quite substantial in the last decade.
OKC has played 12 NBA seasons and made it to the NBA Playoffs 10 times, including an appearance in the NBA Finals in 2012. They also have 11 winning seasons.
#6 Houston Rockets - 5.1 million
The Houston Rockets are among the NBA's top franchises, even if they've won their last championship 25 years ago.
The Rockets have 5,198,553 followers on Instagram.
The Rockets have been an established team in Houston since 1977 and they have missed the NBA Playoffs 16 times in 49 seasons.
They have had iconic players like Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, and James Harden.
Houston has made the NBA Playoffs in the last eight years and has 14 winning seasons under their belt.
#5 Boston Celtics - 5.3 million
One of the two most famous franchises in NBA history, the 17-time NBA champions (a joint record with the LA Lakers), the Boston Celtics are an iconic NBA franchise.
The Boston Celtics have 5,375,559 followers on Instagram.
Though Boston has won 17 NBA titles, they aren't as popular as they should on social media, this can be attributed to many things -- winning just one NBA championship since 1986, no NBA Finals reached since 2010, or it can be blamed on a social media structure that is not as efficient as other franchises.
The Celtics have reached the playoffs 16 times in the last 20 seasons (including 12 of the last 13 NBA seasons).
#4 Chicago Bulls - 5.7 million
Chicago Bulls' has a huge fan base amongst NBA teams. The franchise achieved incredible success less than three decades ago and remains an iconic NBA team till date.
The Bulls have 5,766,185 followers on Instagram.
Among the Top-5 on this list, ironically, the Bulls are the least active franchise on Instagram.
#3 Cleveland Cavaliers - 8.4 million
The Cavs have a similar situation to the Chicago Bulls. However, they aren't enjoying a fantastic run of results at the moment; they remain popular among NBA fans and basketball followers in general.
Of course, the Cleveland Cavaliers have missed the NBA Playoffs in the last two years, but they had four straight NBA Finals appearances from 2015 to 2018, led by LeBron James. Cleveland won its only NBA championship in 2016.
They are quite active on Instagram, ranking second among this list in terms of posts (12,800) merely behind the OKC Thunder (17,600).
#2 Los Angeles Lakers - 15.3 million
The Los Angeles Lakers aren't on the lead. The reigning NBA champions have 15,389,557 followers on Instagram.
In a ranking published last year, the LA Lakers had 9.9 million followers, and now they have earned close to six million new followers, thanks to LeBron James.
It is natural to see the team's impact and popularity grow among basketball fans on social media, the Lakers are arguably the greatest organization in NBA history, winning a record 17 NBA championships (tied with the Celtics for the record).
They have 9,226 posts on Instagram, which ranks below the Top 6 in terms of IG posts.
#1 Golden State Warriors - 15.5 million
Yes, the Golden State Warriors are the most popular NBA franchise on Instagram.
The Dubs have 15,536,353 followers on Instagram, more than any other NBA team.
Despite being recognized as a losing franchise for many years, the Warriors went for 40 years without winning an NBA championship before 2015.
The Warriors made the NBA Playoffs seven times in the last eight NBA seasons and played for five finales (from 2015 to 2019), and won three championships.
They have also had iconic players, the most popular amongst their fans would be Stephen Curry.
In November 2019, the Warriors had more than 13 million followers on IG already.