It's Good! How the NBA Is Winning at Social Media

Traditional PR is dead. Witty, tech-savvy Millennials are changing public perception of teams, one tweet, Instagram, and Snap at a time.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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It’s a Monday night in March in Brooklyn, N.Y. I’m standing at the opening of a short tunnel that leads out to the Barclays Center court next to Nets Social Media Coordinators Kat Przybyla and Kari Culver, who work rapidly on their phones as we wait for the Nets players to come out from the locker room. Behind us is the Calvin Klein Courtside Club, a luxury restaurant with customers who look like they should be focused on a Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg app, only now they all seem very focused on mini sliders and crab legs. As time drags on, it starts to feel as if we’re cops on a stakeout—cameras drawn, ready to shoot—waiting intently on whoever’s inside.

I’m told shooting guard Alan Anderson likes to “beat the other guys up” on their way through the tunnel. When the Nets finally emerge, the team’s (somewhat labored) pre-game pump-up hollering is only quieted when a pass between teammates goes astray and onlookers in the tunnel have to duck. “Oh shit!” one of the players yells, but nobody is hit, and Anderson playfully shoves and roughs up a couple of the guys as they jog towards the court.

To my left, Przybyla is on her iPhone, editing out the errant ball that nearly became a “Nets Player Decapitates Child with Pre-Game Chest Pass” headline on Complex Sports.

Only two years removed from college when she accepted the position in 2013, Przybyla, 25, is an example of a current trend in the NBA (and perhaps the business world as a whole) when it comes to social media: Let the kids handle it. In an age where most copy gets the TL;DR treatment, a funny headline equals news, and something as innocent as a basketball player’s natural reaction to a wild pass can be spun to create the headline “NBA Thug Curses in Front of Hero Marine’s Children,” people like Przybyla and Culver are unassumingly powerful. Having their job is like being the president with a finger on the Button—if only the president had to press the Button dozens of times per day to maintain world peace while hoping not to push it hard enough to nuke everything.

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