The Greatest Basketball Players of All Time

By Ross Perez 29 Jun, 2010

Kyle Biehle is an unabashed sports fanatic and data nerd. Needless to say, we are fans of his blog, The Ivory Sofa. The following is a visualization that Kyle made attempting to quantify the greatest basketball player of all time. Click around and see if you agree with his findings.

The line chart in the center is the result of each players score, which is a summation of the achievements detailed in the bottom right corner of the viz. The graphics on the right show which achievements each player received each year. Here is what Kyle says about the viz:

Most players have reached their peak by their 14th season and then plateau. The 97-98 Season was the 14th Season after Jordan entered the league (but only his 12th complete season as a result of the baseball sabbatical). In the 97-98 Season, Jordan won his 5th NBA MVP, the Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz for Jordan's 6th title and he also won his 6th Finals MVP award. Jordan retired (for the second time) after hitting the championship-clinching shot at the buzzer in game six. Magic, Bird and Russell were effectively done after 13 Seasons (Magic briefly attempted a comeback years later). Chamberlain and West retired after 14. Kareem is the one Simmons Pantheon player who was still going strong after 14 seasons - until Kobe. Assessing all of the Pantheon players at the 14 year mark is one way to see where Kobe currently stands.

How'd he do that? Custom shapes

The custom shapes that Kyle used for the achievement views on the right are awesome for telling interactive stories and also easy to use. If you have a couple of images that you want to use as icons, simply open up your My Documents folder, then "My Tableau Repository". Inside "My Tableau Repository" you will find a folder called "Shapes". Open "Shapes", create a new folder for your shapes and paste them inside.

Then, assuming you have the field you are interested in on the shape shelf (above), click on the edit shape button (accessed through the arrow icon below) and select your folder name to assign your shapes!


Submitted by Margot (não verificado) on

Holy crap. How do you sift through all that data? Ingenious. The symbols graph puts the viz in data visualization - much easier to see the overall picture without having to read too much or push too many buttons.

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