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.
Sports Geek Podcast is the top ranked sports marketing podcast, downloaded in over 35 countries interviews with NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB sports business professionals.Listen Now
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 (@sniperjones35)
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 over 350,000 followers on Instagram. They’re often treated to pictures of his latest Nike kicks for their loyalty.
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 from his last visit to Australia. 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! Loved this shot of him flipping the coin at the MCG for the Hawthorn vs Geelong match in round two, just days after his triumph at Bells Beach.
Brazilian soccer superstar Kaka was one of the first sports stars to embrace Instagram. With nearly 150,000 followers, Kaka is one of the big players on Instagram, and posted this beauty for his followers just this morning, mere hours after Real Madrid clinched their first La Liga title since 2008. 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. As an old school WWE fan, this one below, of Iron Mike being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, is especially good.
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. With the London games coming up shortly, she is definitely worth a follow.
Chad Johnson (@ochocinco)
He’s back to being Chad Johnson (for now) and mainly takes photos of himself, but his account was great when he was on an NFL team and has said he is trying a comeback in 2013.
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”
Jack Riewoldt (@jackriewoldt08)
Charismatic forward for the Tigers. One of the AFL’s most active players on social media.
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.
J.R. Smith (@therealjrsmith)
New York Knick J.R. Smith is a huge character in the NBA and his Instagram account is no different; full of character.
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.
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”.