Basketball Players Should Touch Each Other More Often, Science Urges

Scientists, those smart people who split the atom and cured polio, have charted hugs and high fives for every NBA team and concluded that, as The New York Times puts it, "good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones."

Thanks, science!

In a paper due out this year in the journal Emotion, 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.

It's really true. The best teams are always touching and embracing and generally carrying on like the cast of Godspell. Those great Bulls teams, for instance, most certainly had a "rich vocabulary" of touch. Remember that one time Steve Kerr's face touched Michael Jordan's fist?

Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much [The New York Times]
Study: Good players aren't afraid to touch teammates [TrueHoop]