@NBA will be put on game balls

NBA players now can get their handle on the league's handle.

The NBA announced Thursday that it would be putting its social media identifier, @NBA, right under the words "official game ball," becoming the first league to usher social media literally into the players' hands.

"We have a young, tech-savvy fan base," Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, the league's senior vice president for digital media, said. "This acknowledges our commitment to being part of the conversation."

The balls with the new addition will be put in play for the preseason and be available at retail a few months later.

Brenner said that between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tencent and Sina, the league has a gross total of more than 660 million fans engaged with the league's involvement in social media.

The addition is the second change to the ball in less than a year as Adam Silver replacing David Stern as the league's commissioner on Feb. 1 resulted in a new signature.

The official game ball has been made by Spalding since 1983.