The 77th edition of the NBA Draft was held at the Barclays Center in New York on Thursday, June 22. The Draft offers NBA teams the opportunity to land young, talented players from college or leagues in other countries.
This year’s No. 1 pick was an open secret, as everyone expected the San Antonio Spurs to select Victor Wembanyama in the draft. And so it has come to pass. The 7’5, 19-year-old French player has officially become the most anticipated NBA prospect since Lebron James.
Wembanyama’s numbers on social media demonstrate fans’ excitement around the French player. Wembanyama has more followers on Instagram than the last two #1 NBA Draft picks: Paolo Banchero 2022 and Cade Cunningham 2021.
How the NBA Draft drives engagements
Even though the draft is held over one night (versus the NFL Draft held over three days), its reach and influence go much further — as the anticipation starts with the Draft Lottery, which determines the order in which teams pick players.
From May to June, NBA teams took advantage of the draft to generate content across social media. A great example came from the NBA, which showcased Wembanyama’s phenomenon since the beginning of the regular season in October 2022. The NBA also broadcast games of the Frenchman’s team, the Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 of the LNB, through the NBA League Pas. Metropolitans 92 also played two exhibition games in Nevada last October against NBA G League Ignite. In anticipation of Wembanyama and the Draft, the NBA kept a close eye on the Frenchman in the United States.
The young prospect’s reaction when he learned that the San Antonio Spurs had taken him as the No. 1 pick in the draft was memorable.
The video has more than 1.1 million engagements, confirming that not only the league and teams follow the draft, but also the fans are look forward to the arrival of great players into the NBA.
Grow your fandom beyond the season with Blinkfire
Social media allows NBA games to last longer than 48 minutes and the season to stretch year-round. Both teams and the basketball league have taken advantage of the draft to generate different, engaging and branded digital assets.