With 2017 NBA All-Star festivities in New Orleans this weekend, fans will now be able to message with their friends using Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward and Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas in emoji form, among other All-Stars.
Newly-formed digital agency Hijinx, led by co-founders Brian Clouser and Rosario Tarabocchia, is rolling out 14 individualized NBA “next-generation” emoji apps for iOS, which will include about 40 to 60 custom stickers and animated emojis for $1.99.
The Small Stars Apps integrate into iMessage so fans can even drag and drop the stickers on top of text messages.
(Courtesy of Hijinx)
Clouser explained that once Apple unveiled iOS 10 in September and opened up its iMessage platform to third-party developers, that “completely changed the game” where emojis were no longer going to be a “gimmick” but added value to fans’ conversations.
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“I thought it was a good time to sell it to other celebrities, who maybe didn’t have Kim Kardashian fame but still had a big social media following,” Clouser said. “We could sell it for a dollar or two and make a really successful product and give their fans something to play with as they messaged their friends.”
Hayward, who was one of the first NBA players to partner with Hijinx, added through a spokesperson: “I was pumped when I heard about the Small Stars app. I think it’s a great way to connect with my fans. And who doesn’t love a good emoji?”
Clouser refrained from divulging too much on how Hijinx completed the Small Stars apps from creation to launch, citing that he viewed Hijinx’s process as a differentiator from other competing companies. However, he did cite a mixture of illustration and animation work along with coding and file compressing to fully launch the apps.
Because of Clouser’s prior research and contract work with the Charlotte Hornets over two seasons (2013-15), he had the necessary business contacts to land all 14 players across five agencies, including Priority Sports and Entertainment and Excel Sports.
Below is the full list of Small Stars Apps presented by Hijinx
1) Kristaps Porzingis — New York Knicks
2) Myles Turner — Indiana Pacers
3) Gordon Hayward — Utah Jazz
(Courtesy of Hijinx)
4) Bradley Beal — Washington Wizards
5) Jeremy Lin — Brooklyn Nets
6) Isaiah Thomas — Boston Celtics
7) Kemba Walker — Charlotte Hornets
8) Hassan Whiteside — Miami Heat
9) Andre Drummond — Detroit Pistons
10) C.J. McCollum — Portland Trail Blazers
11) Joel Embiid — Philadelphia 76ers
12) D’Angelo Russell — Los Angeles Lakers
13) DeMarcus Cousins — Sacramento Kings
14) Chandler Parsons — Memphis Grizzlies