If you hadn’t already heard of Instagram, you certainly would have after Facebook recently paid $1 billion for the purchase of it. Simply, Instagram is just a cool iPhone (and now Android) app that lets users snap a photo from their smartphone, chuck a quirky and hip filter over it, and then share it across any social network like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or Tumblr.

So, why did Facebook shell out so much money for such a simple app? One reason, folks; reach. With between 30 and 50 million users now having Instagram, the reach the app boasts is unbelievable for a mobile app, and will continue to grow as Facebook pushes it’s development.

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Like Twitter and Facebook. athletes across the world are starting to integrate Instagram into their daily repertoires to connect with their fans and show their “human” side. Now, without any further ado, let’s look at ten athletes from around the world who are absolutely killing their Instagram connection with fans.

Kevin Durant (@easymoneysniper)

You know him on the NBA courts as the jump shooting, rim shaking, 3-time scoring champ of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the 23-year old forward is just a regular, 23-year old guy off the court. For some fun behind-the-scenes kind of shots from one of the NBA’s best characters, you could do much worse than follow KD on Instagram.

LeBron James (@kingjames)

King on the court and  marketing giant off it, Miami’s LeBron James has some committed fans.

Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk)

Skateboarders are often seen as outside-the-square thinkers, and legendary boarder Tony Hawk is no different. As a businessman, Mr. Hawk has proven himself to be as fearless as he was in a half pipe. Who else could pull off the business-presentation-in-a-half-pipe idea as well as Hawk? Brilliant stuff, Bird man.

Kelly Slater (@kellyslater)

Like skateboarders, surfers are also seen as creative thinkers. Champion surfer Kelly Slater helps keep that belief alive with his Instagram shots, including this beauty. Picturesque shot there, Kelly.

Scott Pendlebury (@sp_10)

Magpie superstar Scott Pendlebury is a leader amongst his AFL contemporaries on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. With nearly 2,500 followers, Pendles is giving his fans a great insight into his life away from football and what keeps him grounded when not tearing up the MCG.

Mick Fanning (@mfanno)

Like Slater above, surfing legend Mick Fanning is a lover of Instagram. As he does so much travelling throughout the year, Instagram is wonderful to not only let his fans know what he is up to, but also let them know where he is!

Kaka (@kaka)

Brazilian soccer superstar Kaka was one of the first sports stars to embrace Instagram. Hala, Madrid

Mike Tyson (@miketyson)

While he’s most well known for his headline grabbing boxing career, retired boxer (and star of one of the best scenes in “The Hangover”), Mike Tyson is a regular on Instagram.

Stephanie Rice (@itsstephrice)

Last but certainly not least is Australian swimming’s golden girl, Stephanie Rice. The three-time Olympic gold-medal winner is great to follow on Instagram as she gives some cool insight into all the training and preparation needed for the Olympics.

Mario Balotelli (@supermario_45)

A look into the wild and wacky ways of Mario Balotelli. Absolutely worth it, even if just to see him wearing a hat that says “YOLO”.

Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano)

One of the world’s finest on the pitch and he is active off it as well, as his Instagram account will attest to.

James Harden (@jharden13)

Out from under the shadow of KD and Westbrook, James Harden is flying in Houston.

Brad Richards (@brichards_1991)

Richards is probably the NHL’s most active Instagrammer.

Usain Bolt (@usainbolt)

The world’s fastest man killed it at the London Olympics and he kills it on Instagram, too.

Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35)

Tennis ace Victoria Azarenka travels a lot throughout the year playing in tournaments and she collects a heap of great shots on Instagram.

Nic Naitanui (@realnaitanui)

Nic Nat is by far the best AFL player to follow on Instagram.

Kevin Love (@kevinlove)

The most underrated NBA star in terms of character. Definitely worth a follow.

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There we have it, guys. Are you in Instagram yet? For more information on Instagram and it’s impact on the sports digital world, check out Sean’s #YouTube140 look into Instagram.

If you want to follow any of the stars featured here or any other sporting identities and teams, check out our Sports Geek Pinterest page, “Sports on Instagram”.

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