Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 at 12:00 pm  |  29 responses

Study: Touching Leads to Success, or Something

Step 1: Touch somebody, Step 2: ???, Step 3: Profit!: “To see whether a rich vocabulary of supportive touch is in fact related to performance, scientists at Berkeley recently analyzed interactions in one of the most physically expressive arenas on earth: professional basketball. Michael W. Kraus led a research team that coded every bump, hug and high five in a single game played by each team in the National Basketball Association early last season. In a paper due out this year in the journal Emotion, Mr. Kraus and his co-authors, Cassy Huang and Dr. Keltner, report that with a few exceptions, good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones. The most touch-bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, currently two of the league’s top teams; at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats. The same was true, more or less, for players. The touchiest player was Kevin Garnett, the Celtics’ star big man, followed by star forwards Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors and Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz. ‘Within 600 milliseconds of shooting a free throw, Garnett has reached out and touched four guys,’ Dr. Keltner said. To correct for the possibility that the better teams touch more often simply because they are winning, the researchers rated performance based not on points or victories but on a sophisticated measure of how efficiently players and teams managed the ball — their ratio of assists to giveaways, for example. And even after the high expectations surrounding the more talented teams were taken into account, the correlation persisted. Players who made contact with teammates most consistently and longest tended to rate highest on measures of performance, and the teams with those players seemed to get the most out of their talent.”

(H/T: @MrTrpleDouble10)

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  • ave. joe

    hahaha this is great

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Wtf. Great another stat for nerds to talk about. “Lebron had 16 more touches than Kobe he’s a much better teammate”.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Hug it out. lol.
    So this finally explains why players pat each other on the back huh?

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    lets hug it out biatches!!

  • http://www.clutchfans.net nick

    The jock-ass-slap, vindicated.

  • T-Money

    Perhaps the bad teams have less opportunities to get excited/bump chests/give pounds because they suck?

  • http://claydefayette@yahoo.com CDef28

    Exactly what I was thinking T-Money.

  • Stillballin

    Is slapping ur teammate’s butt.. Make u more consistant??

  • Joe

    what was Amechi’s tpg (touches per game)?????????

  • thalilbigkahuna

    Why would you even think about this?

  • Jack Knife

    This must be what made Bobby Knight a great coach.

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    Man, Slam is comedy central today.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com TADOne

    Sh*t, I thought I ventured to a different website for a minute there.

  • fisticuffs

    correlation does not cause causation

  • http://slamonline.com d.j.

    somewhere out there eddie curry is touching a donut right now….

  • memyselfand9

    no homo

  • somedude

    And the Social Sciences once again prove “science” should be nowhere near their name.

  • http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikebasketball/en_US/signature/moves?player=kobe_bryant&move=3 Jackie Moon

    “I’m not on your team!”

  • Bballfanatic

    lmao @ D.J.

  • Jon

    i think u should get the most touch points for holding hands. won’t be surprised to see kobe holding both of josh powell’s hands each game.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    so THAT’s how boston won the 2008 championship: with SCIENCE! (and touching)

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    this article confounds me; don’t science guys know the concept around celebratory gestures? I mean, Archimedes himself ran around buck-naked in the streets of greece when he discovered the law of bouyancy. And as celebrations go, that trumps high-fives after made free throws in any era.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Wally Sczerbiak is the MVP of touching.

  • zabba


  • Jack Knife

    LOL @ Jackie Moon

  • Jack Knife

    So when do I touch my teammate. Is it as he is shooting or 5 seconds before. After doesn’t make any sense.

  • http://twitter.com/PDXGayBBall dma

    KG is the gayest player in the league. on the court. but Timmy D wins the title off the court.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com The Hoopistani

    hahahahahah this is hilarious.
    love the south park / gnomes reference in the post, too.

  • vmcb

    I can just see coaches giving their half time speeches now “More high fives! More butt slaps! Common guys, do you want to win, or what??”