On Jan. 27, the heat from the NBA's most fire Twitter account scorched the Memphis Grizzlies' Chandler Parsons.
The pretty-boy small forward had spurned a contract offer from the Blazers in the offseason. So when he whiffed a 3-point attempt in a game at Moda Center, the team's official account couldn't help razzing him, posting video of the air ball with a reminder that "the NBA 3-point line is really, really far away from the basket."
A few hours later, Parsons clapped back, taking a jab at Portland's record and wishing the team luck in the draft lottery. Then C.J. McCollum stepped in to deliver the deathblow: "We won the lottery when we didn't sign you."
Instigating flame wars between players typically isn't part of most sports teams' digital strategy. But for the Blazers, snark is one element in an overall approach to social media that aims to reflect the voice of the fans rather than the front office. It hasn't gone unnoticed: For three years straight, Complex has placed the official Blazers account at the top of its annual NBA Twitter rankings, calling it "the funniest and most consistent" of the league's 30 teams.
"During a game, I want the Blazer Twitter account to be like your best friend sitting next to you at Moda Center," says Cody Sharrett, the team's digital content specialist.
Sometimes, that means heckling an opponent for a missed free throw or an egregious flop. Other times, it means laughing at your own misfortune. When the Warriors delivered a 25-point beatdown to sweep the Blazers out of the playoffs this year, all Sharrett could do was issue increasingly dire score updates: "22-A Lot," "48-More," "80-Enough."
"When teams are getting blown out, I can't stand when they go dark on social media," Sharrett says. "We're not doing it in a way that's saying, 'Yeah, we suck.' But we're like, 'Maybe it'll be better tomorrow.'"
"Maybe it'll be better tomorrow." Spoken like a true Blazers fan.