Social Stat proves how the NBA is a global game

(Photo by Rick Osentoski/Getty Images)

Michael Jordan saved the NBA when it needed a hero the most.

He became a global icon, a guy everyone on Earth would recognize and want to take a picture with, and one of the guys who really took the game to every corner of the Earth.

Over the years we’ve seen countless international players take the game overseas, and some of the game’s biggest stars have huge fanbases in other countries.

We’ve seen Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady become a sensation in Asia, and Kobe Bryant become one of the most popular athletes in Chinese market history.

Argentines woke up late to watch Manu Ginobili win four rings with the San Antonio Spurs, and Spaniards woke up early to watch the Gasol brothers for more than a decade.

Today, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic have drawn attention to European basketball more than ever, while Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam have become success stories of NBA initiatives in Africa.

It’s no surprise, then, that the NBA is – by far – the most popular major sports league in the United States in terms of international viewership, as reported by Basketball News and Joe Pompliano.

Apparently more than 70% of the league’s 75 million Instagram followers are overseas.

Pompliano also pointed out that the NBA has almost twice as many international fans as the NFL, NHL and MLS.

It is – indeed – a global game, and it is just getting started.

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