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NBA Players, Coaches Turn to Texting to Stay Connected

Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype explains how mobile phones have changed the league and how its participants communicate.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

NBA players live in rarefied air compared to mere mortals, with exotic cars, mansions, and personal chefs as common perks of the trade. When they want to communicate with each other, though, they resort to the same group chats employed your common, workaday Joes. HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy has made a practice of taking readers inside NBA circles, and this week he elaborated on the prominence, and importance, of text chatting among the world’s best basketball players.

According to Kennedy, group texts are common, nearly ubiquitous, across the league.

Nearly every team in the NBA has group chats for their players and coaches. Not only is it a way for players to connect, it’s also how most teams send out their schedule and announcements everyday.

Communication between players is common, but Kennedy suggests text chatting has also become integral to coaches.

“Even over the past five years, communication among players has shifted so much to text messaging, video calls and social media,” one NBA coach said. “It’s really, really phone-based. The smart coaches understand it and they’re the ones who are embracing it. Some coaches try to push back against it, but their players often end up resenting them.”

Players use gifs and memes to “clown” each other, using the chats as a private form of social media. The groups can also develop into recruitment venues.

Some players also have group chats with NBA players who aren’t on their team. Sometimes, this is just to keep up with long-time friends who play for other teams around the league. Other times, they’re interested in playing together at some point and they’re discussing that possibility.

“Players will sometimes talk to other guys around the NBA and discuss the possibility of teaming up,” said one Eastern Conference player. “That definitely happens.”

Kennedy’s article has far, far more on the phenomenon than we can cover here. As with all his “inside” pieces, it’s well worth a read.