THE Philippines again underscored its stature as a basketball capital when it emerged as the leading nation outside of the United States and China with the biggest number of fans tracking the NBA on social networking sites.
A list provided by the NBA ranked Filipinos as the American pro league's top followers on both Facebook and Twitter. No figures were made available.
Turkey comes next to the Philippines on Facebook, followed by Indonesia, Mexico, and France. On Twitter, Indonesia is No. 2 behind the Philippines, then Brazil, the United Kingdom, and India.
The NBA, through official Rick Pendrick, came out with the list on the day LeBron James and the Miami Heat won the NBA championship by trouncing the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-106, in Game Five of the Finals.
So far, a record 278 million have followed the NBA, its players and teams globally on the various networking sites. In addition, the league is also the most popular sports channel on YouTube, with more than 883 million video views since 2005.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios was the least bit surprised about the survey.
“This goes to show how fanatically Pinoys love and follow basketball globally,” said Barrios, who even stressed that no Filipino players yet have to break through the cage league considered as the toughest in the world.
“The Philippines has always been for years, a `major market’ for the NBA, even their merchandise like T-shirts, caps, etc,, had been selling very well here,” added Barrios.
The info sheet also showed that NBA is the number one sports league across social media in China, with 52 million fans on its official accounts on Sina Weibo and Tencent QQ.
Meanwhile, the NBA announced that Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has the top selling jerseys internationally. The areas also covered those in China, Europe, and Latin America.
Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose is at no.2 followed by James, Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett, and Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard.