It’s one of those things we absolutely love about the summer: sports!

We’ve been following the NBA finals and are heading to a baseball game tonight.

But there’s just one thing about sports that we’ve never been able to wrap our heads around: all of the statistics. Ever since the baseball cards we collected as kids with those rows and columns of numbers we’ve never been able to see the impressive statistic or indicator of greatness.

Now we know why: it wasn’t that the statistics weren’t impressive, it’s that they were too difficult to understand!

That’s why we went around the internet and gathered some of our favorite sports visualizations to gain new insight into the players we love!

Yes… they really are that good

One of the most impressive things about watching professional basketball players is how many amazing shots they seem to hit, and how each player seems to have their own strengths and weaknesses.

As we gear up for game 7 of the NBA finals this Sunday we take a look at buckets.com for a breakdown of where we can expect most of the shots to be.

sports data visualization
The inside game should be interesting

The thing we love about this visualization is how it uses color and a map to show us exactly where a certain player is more likely to take the shot. Sure you could show this same data in a spreadsheet but it wouldn’t have anywhere near the same visual impact or present the information in such an immediately intuitive way.

The Boys of Summer

We couldn’t make a summer sports post without giving some attention to the boys of summer: baseball!

They call it America’s Pastime for a reason: something about eating a hotdog in the 7th inning stretch just feels right. And then hearing the crack of the bat and everyone’s 0n their feet looking for where the ball will land.

It’s that kind of enthusiasm that led junkcharts.com to share this amazing visualization of where home runs tend to land.

baseball data visualization
the best place to sit to catch that homer

What we enjoy most about this visualization is what the author has to say about the visual analysis. He writes “This graphic does present interesting analyses, as opposed to acting as a container for data.”

And in the end that’s what a great data visualization is supposed to do. Spreadsheets and databases provide a container, but a visualization turns that container into an open-ended analytics tool that allows you to draw your own conclusions and get new insight from that same information.

Until next time,

The VisualCrew