In the sports world, Twitter has become a powerful promotional tool. While some athletes just use Twitter to “connect” with their fans, it seems that most are just trying to build a big following so they can get more lucrative endorsement deals.
Today Total Pro Sports brings you a list of the 25 most-followed athletes on Twitter. There are some on the list you would expect, but there also a handful that will surprise you.
Did your favorite crack the top 25?
Technically, “pro skateboarder” Rob Dyrdek has more followers than New York Yankee Nick Swisher. But Dyrdek is more famous as a reality TV star on MTV, so I disqualified him. Your welcome @NickSwisher.
25. Nick Swisher – 1,430,005
Want to learn a little about cricket? Why not follow the most popular cricket player in the world—India’s Sachin Tendulkar. (You can also get exciting updates about how he just got fitted for a great suit at Savile Row!)
24. Sachin Tendulkar – 1,689,439
Follow this defender for FC Barcelona and maybe you can get some great tips for how to make your hair lush and shiny.
23. Carles Puyol – 1,793,403
Good news: you don’t have to speak Spanish to follow this FC Barcelona midfielder. He almost always tweets in both Spanish and English.
22. Cesc Fabregas – 1,902,673
The Celtics forward uses his Twitter feed to promote...his charity? That’s refreshing. (It has its own handle: @Truthonhealth. https://twitter.com/#!/Truthonhealth)
21. Paul Pierce – 1,978,072
Who needs Don King when you’ve got almost 2 million followers on Twitter?
20. Floyd Mayweather – 1,996,388
Tune in to hear Dwyane Wade’s thoughts on sports and, and of, course his children. Cute!
19. Dwyane Wade – 2,035,262
Another athlete from FC Barcelona? That’s 3 already! It’s almost as if they’re the best club team playing the world’s most popular sport.
18. Andres Iniesta – 2,040,432
I think winning the Golden Ball award as best player at the 2010 World Cup did a little something to boost this Inter Milan striker’s Twitter following. Also, he's popular with the ladies. (Diego always seems to be showing off his killer abs—he's The Situation of pro soccer.)
17. Diego Forlan – 2,084,229
Check out this 21-year-old pro skateboarder’s feed if you want to feel like a total failure. He’s a 3x X-Games champ, he’s got a reality show on MTV, a clothing line at JC Penny, and charitable organization that gives money to injured amateur athletes. Oh, and he went pro when he was 13.
16. Ryan Sheckler – 2,091,323
Check out Reggie’s feed for juicy details about Kim Karda—wait, what? He hasn’t dated her for like 3 years, and he still has over 2 million followers? That’s amazing.
15. Reggie Bush – 2,108,969
Here’s another guy with connections to the Kardashians with more than 2 million followers. Coincidence? Check out his feed to hear his thoughts on getting traded from the Lakers to the Mavericks over the weekend.
14. Lamar Odom – 2,185,655
This Manchester United star is always the subject of some controversy over in England—whether it’s allegations of soliciting prostitutes or a foul-mouthed rant on live television during a match. So it’s no surprise he he’s a member of the 2 million club. People just don’t want to miss him putting his cyber foot in his e-mouth.
13. Wayne Rooney – 2,238,110
Serena Williams is perhaps the most colorful tennis player since John McEnroe, so a huge Twitter following is a given. (Kind of makes you wonder, though: what kind of following would Johnny Mac have bad back in the day?)
12. Serena Williams – 2,355,502
Superman is not only one of the best players in the NBA; he’s also a devout Christian and a super nice guy. He responds to a ton of fan tweets, so if you’re a fan you should definitely check follow Dwight Howard on Twitter.
11. Dwight Howard – 2,481,107
following 11 (including Ronaldo)
@10Ronaldinho Ronaldinho isn’t the soccer player he used to be, but, as evidenced by the fact that he’s cracked the top 10, that doesn’t mean he still isn’t a superstar.
10. Ronaldinho – 2,608,792
following 504 (including Rory McIlroy, Giselle, and Katy Perry)
Ditto what I just said about the younger Ronaldinho. The 35-year-old still plays for Corinthians in Brazil, but of course if you’re one of his 2.6 million followers you already knew that.
9. Ronaldo – 2,599,907
following 2,452 (including Seth Green, deadmau5, and George Takei)
You probably won’t read anything about how skateboarding legend and entrepreneur Tony Hawk left his third wife for his best friend’s wife on his Twitter feed, so that’s probably not why he has so many followers.
8. Tony Hawk – 2,747,690
following 540 (including Twitter Support Team...how exciting)
Neymar is the next big Brazilian soccer superstar. The 19-year-old will probably top this list in a couple of years, once he gets to appear in a World Cup and makes the jump to one of the big European club teams.
7. Neymar Junior – 2,856,496
following 241 (including Ann Curry, Justin Timberlake, and Tim Tebow)
If you don’t know why LeBron James has so many followers, why are you even reading this?
6. LeBron James – 2,957,675
following 101 (Hope Solo, the President of Mexico, and Gerard Pique)
If you do wacky stuff like change your name to match your jersey number, people will follow you on Twitter.
5. Chad Johnson – 3,004,933
following 308 (including Samuel L. Jackson, P.K. Subban, and Mandrian Oriental Hotels)
The French sporting press is trying hard to prove Lance Armstrong was a cheater, but the Twitterverse still loves a guy who overcame testicular cancer to win the Tour de France (dope or no dope. So just shut up already, French sporting press.
4. Lance Armstrong – 3,162,123
following 650 (including Kanye West, Mia Hamm, and The Rachel Ray Show)
Is there any sports personality more entertaining (without seeming crazy or annoying) than the Big Aristotle?
3. Shaq – 4,660,465
following 43 (including Enrique Iglesias, Mike Tyson, and Lady GaGa)
How did soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo get the handle @Cristiano? Did he pay someone? In any case, check out CR’s feed if you want to hear him promote his new game for the iPhone.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – 5,703,668
following 336 (including Jim Carrey, Shakira, and Diego Forlan)
I know Kaka is an international soccer superstar, but I wouldn’t have thought he would have almost 2 million more Twitter followers than the #2 athlete. That is downright impressive.