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The top social media moments from Week 1 of the NBA playoffs

From ESPN - April 17, 2018

It can be difficult to keep track of all the NBA's important moments on social media. Every night there's seemingly a new meme, a new highlight or a new beef to keep track of. That's what we are here for. Moving forward, we will be rounding up the top social moments of the week and asking readers to vote on their favorite tweets, videos, GIFs and Instagram posts.

Whether there's shade being thrown in the Instagram comments or a new viral challenge, we have got you covered.

Here are the top social moments of the final week of the regular season and opening weekend of the playoffs (April 9-15):

Rookie of the Year race turns personal

With Rookie of the Year voting due last Friday, Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell -- the two front-runners for the award -- had their final chance to make an impression and potentially sway voters.

In an interview with ESPN on April 9, Simmons said he is "100 percent" the Rookie of the Year. On Tuesday, Mitchell arrived to the Utah Jazz's game against the Golden State Warriors wearing a black Adidas sweatshirt with the word "rookie" accompanied by the word's definition across the front of the hoodie. The underlying message? Simmons should not be eligible for the award because he was drafted in 2016 and this is technically his second season as a professional.

Interesting style choice, @spidadmitchell(via @utahjazz) pic.twitter.com/3HqJcrGk1g

SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 11, 2018

The image immediately went viral. Blake Griffin, who like Simmons missed his rookie season and won Rookie of the Year in his second professional season, playfully took offense to Mitchell's statement:

bro it was like 8 years ago.... ohhhhh i get it https://t.co/b3quTj2JvJ

Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin23) April 11, 2018

And then Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma chimed in and backed Mitchell:

Lmaoooo I see u @spidadmitchell #redshirtrooks https://t.co/mHfkA4LmRQ

kuz (@kylekuzma) April 10, 2018

When asked about Mitchell's sweatshirt after his game that night, Simmons downplayed the gesture and doubled down on his assertion that he's the league's best rookie.

On Wednesday, the final day of the regular season, Mitchell wore a red Adidas sweatshirt with "Rookie?" across the chest, further fanning the flames of the debate. Both Simmons and Mitchell enjoyed impressive playoff debuts this weekend, and one can only think this debate will continue until June 25, when the NBA holds its annual awards show.

Donovan Mitchell has a very specific taste in hoodiespic.twitter.com/qMjQJewrLK

NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 12, 2018

The Phantom of The Process

Leave it to Joel Embiid to turn a serious injury into a new nickname and grow his legend on social media.

Since suffering a fractured orbital bone a couple of weeks ago, Embiid has been playing up his new face mask, referencing a Bane line from Batman in his Instagram caption about his mask, flaunting the protective gear all over the Well Fargo Center and even donning a Phantom of the Opera replica mask to ring a ceremonial Liberty Bell before Game 1 of the Philadelphia 76ers' first-round series with the Miami Heat.

Mood in Philly pic.twitter.com/2t233xqSyR

NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 15, 2018

But Embiid's week on social media was not finished there. Before Game 1, he took to Instagram to post about his excitement for the playoffs -- and preview what he believes is the Sixers' path through the postseason (Heat, Celtics, Cavs and Warriors).

The King's royal statement

Earlier in the season, LeBron James and Enes Kanter exchanged barbs, with Kanter poking fun at James' "King" nickname.

"I do not care what you call yourself. King, Queen, Princess, whatever you are," Kanter said. "You know what, we are going to fight and nobody out there [is] going to punk us."

Flash forward to Cleveland's visit to Madison Square Garden on April 9, and James wore LeBron 15s with "I am King" inscribed on the back of his left and right shoes, respectively. Trash talk would go only so far without a W, but James' performance backed up his statement, as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the New York Knicks 123-109 and James scored 26 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 11 assists.

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