NBA Draft Crashing, Google+ Style

Upside. Reach. Solid. Crafty. 

Stop me if you heard those terms during last night’s NBA Draft. But, I wonder how many times those words were uttered during the “Draft Crashes” held by the NBA last night. As I wrote previously, the NBA was following along the lines of the NFLPA utilizing the Google+ Hangouts feature to connect their future stars in a unique way. Where the NFLPA structured theirs for media only, the NBA was allowing fans to create their own Hangout “Video Calls” with friends and one of the draft picks could crash their call. 

I was checking Twitter and Google+ to see how well the hashtags that you see below were doing. The early results were disappointing. An opportunity to talk to the future star of an NBA team didn’t seem to attract people just quite yet. Or, as pointed out to me by Hangout Master, Ronnie Bincer, the idea of sharing the link to the Hangout Video Call publicly may have deterred some people too. But, I did find someone who was extremely excited about the proceedings tonight according to this series of tweets:

Draft Crash

How many links are there? I kid, I kid. You get the sense that Rivera is a huge basketball fan with the number of links he provided. If I’m the NBA, that’s exactly the type of excitement you want surrounding the draft.


The waiting. Ahh, yes, the waiting. 

On draft night in any sport, there is a swirl of media action surrounding draft picks. Media obligations can range from national to local, tv to radio, newspapers to magazines. They get pulled in many different directions. Although the first pick was made before 8pm ET, it took quite some time before the first Hangout took place. 

I attempted to contact Ian Rivera for this story, but participants in the Hangouts have agreed to not speak with media about their “crash”. Fortunately, the fans are allowed to take pictures. Pictures that become memories. Memories like the one above or these:

Just now adding via Rivera — looks like the NBA was recording these Crashes:


I wonder if anyone used the word “upside” during these crashes. 



As Rivera’s tweets show, the chance to talk with professional athletes is an exciting opportunity. Fans crave access. Fans want connection. Google+ Hangouts provide both. However, the idea of posting a public link to a Google+ Hangout Video Call? Well…

For those who do not understand how that works, let me explain. There are two different types of Hangouts. Those that are “On Air” (HOA) or available for broadcast via YouTube. And then there’s a “Video Call” (HVC). A HVC is similar to what you do on Skype. Chat with someone via video. In that context, would you post a public link to your Skype video call (if there was such a thing)? I don’t think so. If you think about it, anyone with that link could have crashed that Video Call. Strangers could have clicked those links and joined a Video Call. Not exactly a safe situation if you ask me. There are better ways to bring fans in to talk with players through Hangouts. Great concept in theory, but..

The draft and the crashes continue even as I type this. I applaud the NBA for trying something new. Here’s hoping they see the potential for future use.

Scratch that.

Here’s hoping more NBA teams see the potential of Google+ Hangouts On Air rather than just Hangout Video Calls. The Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes has done a few HOAs with fans to great success. If it’s about access and connection, there is no platform that offers more than Google+. Where else can you get reactions like these for the #1 pick in a draft on the night he is drafted?


My Draft Crash grade for the NBA = B

UPDATED: The NBA has a YouTube Playlist for all of the “Crashes” available here.


CadChica Sports

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Posted by Sunny Cadwallader

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