Touchy-Feely NBA Teams Win More

Study shows that teams that chest bump, hug, and high-five post better records
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2010 1:42 PM CST
Touchy-Feely NBA Teams Win More
Dirk Nowitzki hugs Jason Terry, right, during the second half of a game against the Celtics in Dallas on Monday.   (AP Photo/Mike Fuentes)

Maybe they should add “fist bumps” as a new NBA fantasy stat—because according to a new study, they might just help your team win. Researchers discovered that the more players on any given team touch each other, the more successful they are likely to be. “It looks like at least in these really specific team settings, touch communicates cooperation and trust between people,” one of the co-authors told LiveScience. “Touching is highly correlated with cooperative behaviors.”

Researchers taped the entirety of the 2008-2009 NBA season for all 30 teams, and recorded how much time the players spent in physical contact, then compared that to their final records. They also controlled for other variables like player salary, preseason expectations, and early season performance. They discovered that teams that touched more were more likely to share the ball and play more cohesively as a team. And they suspect they’d see similar results if they studied other sports, and maybe even office settings. (Read more NBA stories.)

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