Visualizing Covid-19 and Sports: a Case Study on the NBA

Colin Dalton and Dr. Daehan Kwak, School of Computer Science and Technology, Kean University, Union NJ 07083

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in many ways. Social Distancing measures taken early on required the suspension or cancellation of most sports. While the pandemic has affected and transformed numerous domains, this research aims to look at the impact of COVID-19 on sports, specifically in the National Basketball Association (NBA) “Bubble.” The NBA’s solution to the COVID-19 problem was to keep everyone quarantined in one area, specifically a set of hotel rooms and courts in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida known as the NBA bubble. The effects of the pandemic are being seen not only in the logistics and business end of the NBA, but on the scoreboard as well. Teams have been shooting the ball more often and accurately than in seasons past. This has been attributed to factors ranging from the lack of a crowd to the darker arena with clearer sight lines. This research aims to visualize those differences, regardless of the actual cause. First, the data collection is implemented using Python and the nba_api which pulls data from the NBA homepage The collected data is then imported into a visual analytics platform called Tableau. Several modules are implemented to display the contrasts in the data to visualize the impact of COVID-19 on the NBA statistics. Trends in play style and shot profile can provide a clearer picture of which teams are thriving and struggling in the bubble. By taking a deeper look at “bubble ball,” this research aims to explore the subtle differences in the game from just a few months ago, and provide further insight going forward. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Colin Dalton

Institution: Kean University

Type: Poster

Subject: Computer Science

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 5
Date/Time: Tue 12:30pm-1:30pm
Session Number: 4024