The NBA brings Big Data at your fingertips

As a kid I used to love the NBA. At the time MJ was still playing so it wasn’t much of a competition to me, it was all about the Bulls and my favorite players Jordan and Pippen.
I also collected the cards that came along with each new season. I remember these cards having all kinds of statistics on the back: average points, rebounds, passes, take-overs etc. Like most USA sports basketball is a numbers game. And like we know: numbers are data. And NBA data is big data: with a huge track record over the past seasons and new data coming from every new match. This NBA based big data is now available at your fingertips as well.

The NBA launched NBA.com/Stats. A website that gives hardcore and casual hoops fans access to an overwhelming amount of historical stats and data. It includes box scores for every game dating back to the NBA’s first season in 1946, as well as deep historical dives on player performance and effective team combinations. Users will be able to access an incredible total of 4.5 quadrillion statistical combinations, according to Ken De Gennaro, the NBA’s vice president of information technology.

Essentially, the common fan now has access to stats and diagrams previously only available to scouts and media. For instance: just a few clicks resulted in the shooting average of Lebron James this season, from where he makes most his baskets, what types of shots he makes and who assisted the pass. Then you can set specific variables like point in the game, opponent, home or away etc. Huge amounts of data and very easy to use, mostly because of the simple visualizations.

What’s great about this from a business point of view is that the NBA succeeded in making a whole lot of data easy accessible and actionable for people who normally would not deal with these types of large data sets. This is crucial to your big data strategy as well. More on this in our forth report on Big Data where we will describe the basics of a data drivin organization.

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