In celebration of the beginning of week 2 of the NBA season, here is an interesting excerpt from Faster, Higher, Stronger: How Sports Science Is Creating a New Generation of Superathletes—and What We Can Learn from Them by Mark McClusky.
If you are a basketball fan, you will certainly enjoy this article about the guy who created a mapping system that revolutionized the NBA forever.
As a kid, Kirk Goldsberry was a rabid basketball fan. But this was the 1980s, and living near Penn State meant his house wasn’t quite close enough to Philadelphia to get 76ers games on TV. And so, casting about for a team, he latched on to Dominique Wilkins and the Atlanta Hawks. They were 750 miles away, but through the magic of superstation TBS, Goldsberry could follow them as if he himself hailed from Georgia.
Goldsberry went on to get his bachelor’s degree in earth science and geography at Penn State, and then a master’s and PhD in geography from UC Santa Barbara, where he wrote his dissertation on real-time traffic maps of the Internet. He was interested in finding ways to visually depict data about movement through space and time—to make numbers visible. Maps and space defined how Goldsberry processed the world. Well, maps, space, and basketball.