Where the Stars Are

A little less than a month ago, we looked at how geography affected a team’s likelihood of winning a championship. (To summarize, big cities equal big advantages to NBA teams.)

I wanted to follow up on that by looking at whether star athletes tended to congregate in certain areas.

That’s a two step process.

1) Determining a stat that roughly demonstrates a player’s star quality.
2) Mapping out where the top 15 athletes in these statistical categories play.

It’s a quarterback driven league, so for the NFL, I took passing yards per game from this past season. MLB? Home runs seemed a natural stat to look at. In the NHL I could have gone with goals or points, but since assists don’t bring fans out of their seats, the goal totals from last season it was. And in the NBA, it was obviously points.

Here are the results, and in each case, the duller, paler blue indicates there are 2 or more “stars” in this state:



Note: Go, Jay Bruce! Oh, and you should also know I used the numbers from 2011, so as to have a full season. Plus, there is one Canadian (Toronto’s Jose Bautista) in the top 15.


Note: There are four Canadians in the top 15, and they represent Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.


There’s a couple notes on this map. First, as Dan notes in the comments section, I accidentally used the NBA scoring leaders from the postseason when this was originally posted. At 11:24 p.m. 7/11/12, I got it corrected. (Thanks, Dan!) And Wisconsin is green because Monta Ellis was traded there in March. Since he played more games for Golden State last season, I thought he should probably count toward California’s total.

Anyway, the bottom line is the NBA actually does a little better in flyover country when you look at it this way.


4 thoughts on “Where the Stars Are”

  1. I’m not sure where you got your stats for the NBA, but I’m curious as to how you ended up with a Denver player as a top 15 player. And if you used just points I don’t know how Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge, who were both top 10 in the league in scoring, didn’t make your list.

    1. Dang it! Thanks, Dan! I used NBA.com, and even after clicking “regular season” twice, I see it still gave me the postseason stats. If I’d been paying more attention, I’d have realized that. I’ll fix it now…

  2. Ah I see. And actually just going to the NBA.com stats page myself it seems like an easy mistake to make. I didn’t mean to sound critical with my original comment, I was just a little confused.

    1. No worries. If you sounded critical, it would have been understandable. It was a mistake deserving of criticism. I had the same problem with the NHL and NFL pages, which also brought up postseason stats, so I knew to look for the same at NBA.com. , I just hit the button and didn’t check closely enough to notice it hadn’t changed over.

      But I ALWAYS appreciate when someone helps make sure I get things right. So sincere thanks, Dan! I really am grateful for the assist.

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