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February 18, 2017

Sports with Balls: How Far Are They Actually Running?

It’s 2017, and technology can finally answer the question every pencil pushing running nerd has been asking since the dawn of the 1.5” inseam: how far are those dumb jocks actually running?

Well, to finally validate everyone who proudly wears a “my sport is your sport’s punishment” t-shirt, we have NBA advanced stats.

With NBA All-Star weekend upon us, it’s a great time for a deep dive into advanced metrics so we can answer this age old question. But since I’m not very bright, and most statistics are fairly straightforward (read: BORING), we will do this the old fashioned way: by handing out arbitrary, mid-season awards in a vaguely Buzzfeed format. We’ll call it The Halfway There Mid-Season Superlatives: Where winners are determined with much bias and wild speculation as possible.


In terms of miles run this season, Karl-Anthony Townes ranks number two. He–all 7 foot, 247 pounds of him–has ran 141.4 miles. It’s also worth noting that he is one of the slower dudes in terms of average miles per hour.

In a stop-and-go sport like basketball, I’m not sure if miles per hour is a meaningful concept in any way. But I’d like to imagine KAT lumbering his enormous, refrigerator bones from one end of the court to the other, only to realize the play has passed him by and the action is back on the other end (the poor guy sighs deeply, like a big sad dog, and trudges at an average of 4.08 MPH back towards the other end). AD INFINITUM.

He also gets a nod for most calories burned. By my rough calculations, in the past 3.5 months he’s burned close to 40,000 calories while on the court–more than most Americans burn from age 30 until they die.


Look at this guy. Have those things been vaccinated? It’s like they’re trying to EAT that poor mans arm.BOBAN MARJANOVIC HANDS

Boban is listed at 7ft 3in and 290 pounds. But at least 6 feet and 150 pounds of that is knuckle and claw. That hand has only run 10.2 miles this season, .45 per game. Not much, but I defy you to find another halfway sentient appendage that has run even half as far.

It should be noted that despite leaving San Antonio and signing a three year, $21 million dollar deal with the Pistons, he is a player of very little consequence and has become more of a garbage-time sideshow. This will likely be the only award he receives this year.


As runners, we get excited about running efficiency (remember when Ryan Hall dropped his arm carriage and everyone nearly had a stroke?). We value form, efficiency, a buttery gait. BUT. For the sake of this award, let’s forget that and define efficiency as ease of movement from point a to point b.

With that established:

Look at this clip of Giannis Antetokounpo driving to the basket. It took him four steps to go from half court to the baseline. Here’s his final step before taking off:

He starts before the high school three-point line, and his foot comes down inside the free throw stripe. We can only hope that during the off season he learns a new move, wherein the ball is inbounded to him and he just leaps from one end of the court to the other, dropping the ball into the basket like a toy machine claw.

Anyway. Four steps, 46 feet. It’s safe to say that this man, who has to be 80% leg, 10% body, 10% neck and head, has taken the least amount of steps to cover the 124.4 miles he’s ran this season. We’ll call it 124 miles, and like, 1000 steps. NUTS.


Marjanovic and the two Kia Sorrentos he has for hands is the heaviest man in the NBA, but Andre Drummond is a close 2nd. Unlike Marjanovic, Drummond sees significant playing time, and is averaging 2.03 miles run per game, while playing 34 minutes. This mileage, coupled with him humping around his 270 pound freight train body, leads to a massive amount of WORK, in the NEWTONIAN sense.

In a perfect world, Charles Barkley  will start discussing Drummond’s output in terms of Joules.

“Sure, he’s shooting 3-17 from the field with 16 turnovers, but good god has he hulked around an enormous amount of mass. And with impressive velocity!” At this point Shaq says “You’re one to talk, Fatboy,” then pantomimes a truck driver blowing his air horn.

Honorary Mention


Despite being a dinosaur in Basketball Years, Paul Pierce has ran 9.4 miles this NBA season, which is more than most small dogs, dads everywhere, and children (useless, opinionless, children).


CJ leads the league in miles run, with 143 this season. He’s a guard, and with a small, svelte frame, should be the leader in this category. But the fact that he’s only ran 1.6 more miles than Karl-Anthony Townes, a walking talking piano, is absurd and quite frankly, a darn shame.

And thus concludes the The Halfway There Mid-Season Superlatives. Join us in after the playoffs in July, where we see how much farther the NBA Advanced Stats take us. Fingers crossed for “Miles Crab Walked.”

1 comment

  1. marcel blom says:

    interesting, could you do an article on how much a football(soccer) runs a game

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