Epic Visualization of Every NBA Shot Taken Since 1997

It's clear to see the differences in how the game is played now compared to 1997.
Fabienne Lang

As there are no sporting events to physically go to these days, or even to watch live on TV, here's the next best thing: epic sports data! 

Specifically, epic basketball data. Every shot location of NBA players from 1997 up until 2019 has been recorded, and now there's a clear visualization of all of them in one place, showing exactly how the shooting game has changed over the decades. 

Could this data help the game of basketball much like this did for football?


Nearly 5 million shots

Since the NBA 1997-1998 basketball season until 2018-2019 one, there have been nearly 5 million shots taken. And every single one of those has been recorded and put into an impressive visualization system.

In doing so, fascinating insights into the game have shown up, as well as open up an understanding of how the game has evolved over the past two decades of shooting professional hoops. 

Anyone can create this type of visualization by inputting as precise as possible data into Tableau. So it goes without saying that every public visualization has to be taken with a pinch of salt, as human error can occur. 

Reddit user, dataisbeautiful posted the NBA shots online and has been garnering a number of nostalgic comments, as well as excitement for the game. At the moment, it's one of the best ways to immerse yourself into "watching" some form of sports online. 

Dataisbeautiful's data was taken from data.world, and published via Tableau before being put onto Reddit. Even people who don't understand or care much for basketball are enthralled with the information.

Epic Visualization of Every NBA Shot Taken Since 1997
How the game has evolved over the years. Source: dataisbeautiful/Reddit

Thanks to this visualization, it's clear to see how the popular sport has changed over the years. If you focus on the shots taken between 1997 and 2002, you'll quickly notice that the majority of shots were taken around the basket and included baseline shots from inside the 3-point line. 

Then, over the last five years of the game, you can see the baseline two-point shots have moved over to higher-scoring shots to the top of the 3-point line. The game has evolved to become faster and tighter, but when it comes to range, it's longer. 

There's a lot of math and science that goes behind sports, as you can also see from how to throw the perfect football spiral

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