Measuring the Social Media Hype About LeBron James Joining the Lakers

Measuring the Social Media Hype About LeBron James Joining the Lakers

Social Data & Analytics

I’m a Lakers fan. And, I’m hyped that King James has joined the squad. I watched Sportscenter for most of last night because I was in shock and still wasn’t sure it was true. My social media feeds blew up with my Lakers posse posting their pure excitement about the King and our quest to get more rings. Others (mostly Warriors fans) criticized the move, probably because they are scared the LeBron moved out west.

All this conversation prompted me to look at some data. I used Crimson Hexagon to run an analysis on the last 3 months of conversation about LeBron joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Since March 30th, there was over 1 million social media posts (Twitter & Instagram) and news articles combined. You can see the distribution of conversation below – Twitter dominated the discussion with a significant amount of news coverage too.

I also looked at Crimson Hexagon’s emotion and sentiment analysis to try and understand the mindset of the folks posting about LeBron and the Lakers. To be honest, I didn’t spend a lot of time drilling down because the data scientists over at Crimson do a pretty good job at clustering/hand coding the language and emotion. Here’s what I did find after 20-3o minutes of reading through the content, trying my best to filter out the trolling:

  • 😀Joy: People like me, happy & counting down until we win more championships.
  • 😖Disgust: Haters gonna hate.
  • 😢Sad: Mostly Cavs fans upset about LeBron’s decision to leave for the West.
  • 😤Anger: Other Cavs fans expressing hate for LeBron leaving the team again.
  • 😣Fear: Fans of other teams in the West afraid because the Lakers just became contenders.
  • 😮Surprise: Many sports journalists who were surprised about LeBron’s decision.

I love seeing Lakers fans rally behind the decision and I’ll be tracking the conversation volume when the season starts, and when we make the finals next year too!

Since I am surrounded by Warrior’s fans and they were in a similar situation with Kevin Durant a few years ago, I wanted to compare Kevin Durant’s announcement from back in 2016.

Clearly, there’s more volume but I was surprised at the lack of news coverage about KD joining the Warriors (only 8%). Twitter clearly dominated and the conversation there was similar to that of what happened with the decision last night–joy from loyal Warriors fans and of course, “haters gonna hate.” I fell into that ladder category.

In reviewing the emotion and sentiment analysis, here’s what I found about the KD announcement:

  • 😀Joy: Mostly #DubNation excited for the new super team.
  • 😖Disgust: Me = “There’s now an asterisk next to KD’s name for his rings.”
  • 😢Sad: Mostly OKC fans upset about KD’s decision to take the easy way out.
  • 😤Anger: Other OKC fans posting photos/videos burning KD’s jersey.
  • 😣Fear: Fans of other teams in the West afraid because of the super team.
  • 😮Surprise: Many OKC sports journalists were extremely surprised.

I am a biased Lakers fan, but at the end of the day, KD’s announcement generated more buzz (less news coverage) than what transpired over the last 3 months.


I hope this quick analysis was valuable. I plan on doing these “Data Series” posts once per week in my quest to brainiac status. Help me get there.

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About Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a digital strategist, published author, TEDx speaker, adjunct professor, and avid 49ers and Lakers fan, with over 20+ years of experience helping organizations break through the clutter and reach their audience with game-changing marketing programs.

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