The Knicks For Clicks Phenomenon

Omar Zahran
5 min readJul 6, 2021

If you have spent any length of time on NBA-centric Twitter feeds, there are a few narratives and themes that stick out to you. Some examples of this are the constant validity of LeBron James’ legacy, the over glorification of young prospects, and the debate of the best eras of basketball. When you dive a bit deeper into the context of fans of the New York Knicks, a new narrative emerges. A narrative that explains the folly of the Knicks fan in three simple words: Knicks for clicks. It is a term that has truth behind it, is sometimes a defense mechanism, but overall is a phenomenon in the exploitation of hope.

What Does It Mean?

The term “Knicks for clicks” simply means that a story, video, or tweet was published and centers around the Knicks because they are a team of interest and generate attention and clicks. This manifests itself in a few ways. The most obvious is whenever a star player hits free agency or is rumored to want a trade out of their situation. Whenever this happens, there will inevitably be a flood of articles and videos speculating if this player will end up in New York regardless of how little it makes sense.

Quite often, in fact, narratives about the Knicks having “interest” in trading or signing a player will result in that player’s perceived market value increasing. This is something we saw last year where the Knicks seemed to be interested in signing free agent Gordon Hayward, only to have him commit to a long-term contract with the Charlotte Hornets for a larger sum than most expected. And of course, whenever it is rumored that a player may be dissatisfied with their situation on their current team as has been reported about Luka Doncic and Zion Williamson recently, inevitably stories about the Knicks acquiring these players will follow.

But beyond this, there are also moments where the Knicks and their fans are brought up just to generate more clicks online because Knick fans are engaged and will probably take the proverbial bait. An example of this was in anticipation of the unveiling of the NBA’s draft order, ESPN targeted the Knicks and their fans specifically despite the team not having the greatest odds to land the top pick. By promoting their event by making it Knicks specific, ESPN ensured that the post would be reshared thousands of times, which…