As 2014 comes to a close, let’s all take a second to appreciate our social media prowess. We tapped out thousands–perhaps even millions–of thoughts big, courageous, and bold to the vastest corners of the Internet. We subtweeted our exes, their new flames, politicians, and our most hated (and revered) sports stars, while taking that troll to task for his opinion on Peyton Manning’s play in the Super Bowl (“even the greats have off games!”). We rocked it.
Athletes, some of them at least, killed it on their social media channels, too. Because they’re people just like us, but way richer and renowned. They not only pumped up #TheBrand but got in some quips and takes as well. While some were great in a completely bizarre way (*cough* Curt Schilling *cough*), some were just sublime. Those sublime athlete accounts are the ones we’ll celebrate below, as they’re the ones we enjoyed most this year.
1. Joel Embiid, Twitter
Twitter: The Philadelphia 76ers’ first-round draft pick in this year’s NBA Draft has been phenomenal on Twitter, courting the likes of Rihanna and Kim Kardashian and just generally trolling the rest of the NBA. Then again, “phenomenal” might be an understatement in regards to his Tweet game. If only for the picture above, he might’ve had the single-best Twitter year of any athlete.
2. Johnny Manziel, Instagram
Johnny Manziel, the NFL quarterback, might suck (this is coming from a Browns fan), but his Instagram is an archive of stunting that none of us will ever achieve. It’s also worth noting that some of Manziel’s best moments on social media didn’t come courtesy of him, but others.
3. Neymar, Jr., Instagram
Barcelona and Brazil soccer player Neymar didn’t have the greatest World Cup: he suffered a horrific back injury in the knockout rounds and then his national team got curb-stomped by Germany. No matter the outcome, the mohawked Brazilian became even more known to the world through his consistently updated and incredibly fun Instagram account.
4. Richard Sherman, Twitter
You really, really should not f*ck with Richard Sherman on Twitter.
5. Brett Anderson, Twitter
The former Colorado Rockies and current Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher has some legitimately funny takes–which is rare among the professional athlete class.
6. Nick Young, Instagram
Swaggy P’s Instagram account is incredibly endearing. It features photos of him in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes, his famous girlfriend, and various other forms of swaggery. It’s good for a quick laugh or pick-me-up.
7. Chris Kluwe, Twitter
Yes, this is a bit of a stretch since Kluwe’s a former professional athlete–he retired at the beginning of the year. Also, yes, he can be outspoken on Twitter and divisive to some who don’t share his views. But he has an occasional column on Deadspin and his stances on combating sexism, misogyny, and NCAA corruption, among other things, are incredibly admirable and lucid.
8. Kobe Bryant, Twitter
Kobe’s Twitter primarily serves as a branded hashtag graveyard–when he tweets, of course–but occasionally the Lakers legend can drop some ether, too.
9. Connor Barwin, Instagram
The Philadelphia Eagles’ linebacker packs his Instagram for those fans looking to find the right balance between things that are brolic-as-f*ck and hipster. Only here will you find a picture of a NFL player with white boy cornrows near a picture of a concert flyer for Kurt Vile & the Violators.
10. The Rock, Twitter
Nobody uses social media quite like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. On Halloween this year, The Rock tweeted photos of fans wearing vintage ’90s costumes, complete with fanny pack wearing Rock. It was perfect.