Since the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball League (NBL) merged to form the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949, thousands of men have suited up to hit the court for one of the 30 modern-day teams (or any number of teams past). This means that any given NBA player has an extensive “social network” of teammates, present and prior.
With this in mind, we examined two of this year’s All-Star selects and found over 100 connections for each player. Check out our interactive graphs that visualize the player-to-player connections for Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade over their careers. Each dot represents a single player, and the lines that go from dot to dot show baller associations.
Thirteen Seasons of Connections With Carmelo “Melo” Anthony
Carmelo Anthony was drafted third overall in 2003 by the Denver Nuggets, and the nine-time All-Star player has spent his professional career on two different teams – the Nuggets and the New York Knicks. During the 2012-13 season, he led the NBA in scoring; he averaged 28.7 points per game, and he currently ranks 39th in overall scoring with 20,924 points.
He’s developed connections to 122 different players over the course of his 13-season career. Although he excelled in the Olympic Games (he received a bronze medal in 2004 and a gold in both 2008 and 2012), our node graph only accounts for official NBA connections. Of note, he shared playing time with Jason Kidd (now the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks), who finished up his playing career with the Knicks during the 2012-13 season, and Allen Iverson, who shared the court with him in Denver.
Associating With Dwyane “Call Me Three” Wade
Dwyane Wade has clocked 12 years – and counting – with the Miami Heat, where he was picked fifth overall in the 2003 draft after a stellar year playing at Marquette University (which has since retired his jersey number). He’s helped the Heat capture three NBA titles (in 2006, 2012, and 2013) and is gearing up to play in his 12th NBA All-Star Game.
Along the way, he’s shared connections with 110 other NBA players (notably, King James and Shaq, both of whom played with the Heat during Wade’s tenure); he’s racked up a ton of honors as well, including All-Rookie First Team (2003-04), scoring leader and All-NBA First Team (2008-09), and three selections to the All-Defensive Third Team (2004-05, 2008-09, and 2009-10).
It’s easy to see how a long playing career (and All-Star status) can result in tons of connections along the timeline of the NBA. While these two ballers don’t share any mutual connections (probably because they’ve kept their team counts low), these stats convey how extensive the NBA family network really is.
Good news for NBA fans: No matter who your favorite All-Star select is, you can get your All-Star gear from Fanatics.com.
Using NBA roster data from Basketball-Reference.com, we created a data set containing each player’s name as well as the associated teams and years. If he played for multiple years or multiple teams, each pairing counted separately. With 4,336 players on 104 teams, we were left with 23,919 player and team pairs over 70 seasons.
The second data set matched players who played together. This yielded 181,886 player-to-player pairs over 70 seasons. In this blog post, we looked at the connections for Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade specifically.
See this: Kobe Bryant played with these NBA stars over his 20 year career