Trades, Tanking and Social Media: How the shield is trying to run with the NBA

Damning press conferences, emoji-riddled tweets, trade demands, star-player movement and burner accounts have taken the NBA’s interest to a whole new level. The #ThisLeague movement is captivating a new wave of fans and the NFL should want a share.

The National Football League is the unquestioned king of the sports landscape. Football Sundays are like a religion to not just sports fans, but everyone. Everyone watches. Everyone gambles on it. Everyone has a fantasy football team. Everyone gears up in their favorite team’s swag. The NFL is a juggernaut when it comes to coverage, discussion, and eyeballs in the sports world.

There is a gap between the NFL and everything else. However, one league has made a dent in the market and it’s looking like the shield is taking notice.

The NBA has made a dent in the NFL’s pre-owned attention span of sports lovers. The on-court play being fantastic is one thing, but where the NBA is gaining steam is off the court. No league has more drama and off-court hilarity than the National Basketball Association.

Damning press conferences, emoji-riddled tweets, trade demands, star-player movement, and burner accounts have taken the NBA’s interest to a whole new level. This mixture of drama and excitement makes up the infamous hashtag #ThisLeague. The #ThisLeague movement is captivating a new wave of fans and the NFL should want a share.

The NFL alone brings a ton of interest, but they’ve followed the NBA’s footsteps in gaining outside noise and that’s a good thing. It’s nothing new, but our world craves the drama, craves the headlines and the NFL is reaching new heights when it comes to this.

Social Media

The NFL’s social media presence has grown – not only with player usage, but with the audience as well. The NFL’s realm of Twitter isn’t as large as the NBAs, but it’s getting there. If an NBA fan is a certified member of NBA Twitter, they wear it like a badge of honor. While the NFL is a fluid conversation that takes place during game days, weekdays can be filled with film study. The NFL is missing a level of petty that feeds the NBA’s presence on social media.

The NBA is the king of petty. Whether it’s players using emojis to symbolize their frustrations, burner accounts, or flat out arguments, the NBA has the upper hand. The NBA has it at every level, whether it’s former players spewing hate or front office members chirping at fans who disagree with their moves. The NFL could use a dose of pettiness to spice things up.

The NFL has many players very active on social media, just not yet on the NBA’s level. While Tom Brady is making way with his postgame videos tuned up with music, the NBA has Lebron James loudly broadcasting his favorite tacos.

The NFL may never be able to chase down the NBA’s social media clout, but with the success basketball is having taking over our timelines, there’s little doubt we will see an even bigger push from the NFL on social media.

Player Movement

Similar to pettiness, the NBA’s rules regarding player movement is quite different in comparison to other leagues. However, the NFL has made some strides this season. There have been several big-time trades in the NFL recently. We all remember the Khalil Mack and Odell Beckham Jr trades. Those two blockbusters were followed by trade requests from several players this season. Jalen Ramsey and Minkah Fitzpatrick each requested trades, with Fitzpatrick sent packing quickly.

Faces of the NBA move on from their beloved fanbases yearly. Kevin Durant, Lebron James, and Russell Westbrook all bounce around the league. With each move, drama ensues – burning jerseys, chirp riddled exposes, and more. The Mack and Beckham trades were in the same ballpark with the Ramsey trade demand right behind.

We already know about the effects player movement can have on the league, but the chatter it brings is good for the shield.


While player movement and social media petty wars can be fun, the NBA’s trend of tanking is a different story. The Miami Dolphins have been linked to actively trying to lose in hopes of a higher draft pick in 2020. This plan has been laid out and fine-tuned by NBA minds like Sam Hinkie and others for years. The Philadelphia 76ers we’re one of the most covered tank jobs in recent history. The 76ers were able to cut cap and finesse their way into drafting several highly touted prospects. While the 76ers we’re tanking, the hashtag #TrustTheProcess was conceived, another product born from NBA Twitter and #ThisLeague.

The “Trust The Process” mantra was glorified across the league. Basketball fans everywhere took an interest in following what the 76ers were trying to do. Now the 76ers are a contender based on the core of young players they drafted during their tanking process.

In theory, the blueprint set by the 76ers would be the plan the Dolphins are trying to execute. NFL fans haven’t necessarily taken to how the Dolphins have handled their tank job out of the gate, but only time will tell if NFL fans will catch up with the new ideas brought on by the NBA.