Dime’s Top 10 Twitter Ballers

Five years ago to this day, a microblogging entity known as Twitter was launched not as a rival to MySpace or Facebook, but with an Internet niche all its own. Only in the past year or so has it exploded, and just as Shaquille O’Neal was the biggest man in basketball, Shaq created a Twitter boom that caught on with NBA players and beyond.

Where does Twitter go from here? We can only guess, but in the fledgling years of the social media website, here’s my attempt at ranking the Top 10 Twitter accounts for the hardcore basketball fan.

10. @Nate_Robinson: “Need to get it to a spa soon like yesterday #WorDaApP”

He’s frequent and quite possibly the hardest tweeter to read with his random CAPS, but Nate Robinson‘s Twitter is reflective of the real Nate. Energetic and creative, one of the greatest contributions to the interwebs was his link to a video of him dougie-ing around his house while holding his laptop camera.

9. @JaredDudley619: “What do you guys/girls think? Should Derek Jeter and others have to at least show up to the ball park and tip their cap to the fans?”

Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley tweets about his workouts but also includes some though-provoking questions. From Derek Jeter‘s lack of an MLB All-Star appearance to Roger Clemens‘ steroid scandal, he’s a great conversationalist and often tweets back at fans. He’s also bridged the gap between journalism and players with his JMZ video show, where he interviews teammates via cell phone after games before posting it to the Twitter machine.

8. @TheBillWalton: “THE GERMAN MONGOOSE STRIKES AGAIN! This ESPY will sit on his mantle next to a Black Mamba head, Durantula legs, & Bosh’s lipstick canister.”

Not the real Bill Walton, this impersonator might as well be. His long, drawn out sentences are like poetry, and you can almost hear the real Walton speaking the tweets. Whomever is writing it is also pretty darn hilarious.

7. @ShaneBattier: “Dear @NBA, the lockout hasn’t even started and I already miss your loving touch. Come back, baby. Can we get some cocktails and talk this out?”

Known as one of the bigger personalities in the NBA, Shane Battier has a good mix of sarcastic remarks and commentary on his everyday life. Currently, that includes tweeting about his performance in the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, though he’s also used Twitter in attempts to woo the NBA out of the lockout.

6. @TheProkhorov: “Can’t wait for ESPN to show Nets war room. We have biggest hot tub of any NBA team in it. Eat it, Miami #da”

Based off of the New Jersey Nets’ billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, this fake account details the life of a billionaire who doesn’t really understand basketball nor the business aspect that being an NBA owner entails. TheProkhorov has been known to fall asleep during the NBA Draft and take jabs at Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian. Think that miniature giraffe, Direct TV commercial guy.

5. @CoachChrisMack: “The guy in room 320 of the Marriott has to b wondering why a man was trying to break in his room. My bad man. 302, 320 they’re all the same.”

Xavier University head coach Chris Mack will tweet about anything. He’ll review energy drinks and would rather talk about the complimentary buffet at an AAU event rather than the atmosphere itself. He twists the funny into tweets about his wife and kids. Also, he likes Keebler Fudge Sticks – a lot.

4. @agentzeroshow: “Skype partners but I don’t wanna see a 40yr body on skype eww lookn like pudding in zip lock bag..lmaooo”

Hands down, Gilbert Arenas is the most ridiculous tweeter out there. If John Hollinger had a PER of best tweeters, Arenas is both frequent and efficient, his percentage of laugh-out-loud-worthy tweets being among the best. Of course, this could be due to Arenas’ realization that the lockout means the Orlando Magic can’t tell him to censor himself. But whether it’s planking or giving away pairs of shoes, there’s nothing held back from Agent Zero.

3. @DraftExpress: “Awful game. Set back basketball 30 years. RT @jondelapresa: what happened in the game between France and Croatia??? They finished 49-33…. “

If you want to know about an NBA Draft prospect before he’s an NBA Draft prospect, look no further than Draft Express and Jonathan Givony‘s Twitter feed. Also one of the most honest in the business, it’s filled with deep analysis of both U.S. and international prospects and links to the website. Information-wise, it’s the best out there.

2. @JayBilas: “Not a high horse. More of a low riding limo where I am fanned, fed grapes with nose high in the air. RT @MaruggiAlbert #getoffyourhighhorse”

I nearly put Jay Bilas atop this list, because witty is the name of the ESPN analysts’ game. With that, he’s great in dealing with critics and haters. Otherwise, Bilas is a proponent for student-athletes and has some great commentary on NCAA dealings. In the end, though, it always comes back to his sense of humor. “There’s a fake Jay Bilas account on Facebook that looks exactly like my real one. Trouble is, fake one is more interesting. Working to fix.”

1. @SHAQ: “i have crazy pictures from my achilles surgery. should i post them? u vote and decide http://t.co/CZHsCmn”

For what he’s done for the Twitterverse, Shaquille O’Neal is far-and-away the No. 1 tweeter in basketball history. He’s No. 29 on Twitaholic.com’s list of most-followed Twitter personalities with over 4 million followers. Only people like Oprah, Charlie Sheen and Barack Obama are in front of him. While I wouldn’t say each tweet has as much value as tweets by guys like Arenas, the dude retired via Twitter. And in fan interaction, Shaq is perhaps the best in the sports world.

Who are your vital basketball follows?

Follow Kevin on Twitter at @offensivelyfoul.

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