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How many miles does an NBA player run each game: Not as much as you think, but NBA players are still in much better shape than m

Posted May 22 2013 8:08am

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is the NBA’s “long-distance” runner./photo courtesy CBS Sports

The NBA playoffs are in full throttle. And if you are like me – a runner and an NBA fan – you probably wonder this: How far does the typical NBA player run during a game.


Seriously. These guys – most of them anyway – are so skinny. Like runner skinny. Surely, they are doing running an endless amount of miles during every ballgame.

Welp, not so fast.

According to SportVu, which is a player tracking technology website, the most active NBA player doesn’t even run 3 miles a game.

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah led all NBA players by running a 2.74 miles per game, according to the ESPN which contracts with SportVu.  (Here is the link to the story but you need to know upfront that it is on ESPN’s premium Insider page.)

Perspective: An NBA court is 94-feet long. 94 feet is .0178 miles. You would have to run baseline to baseline 56 times just to cover one mile.

So, if we take the number of games in an NBA season (82) and multiply them by Noah’s average distance traveled per game (2.74), we get about 225 miles covered in six months (the length of an NBA regular season). Now keep in mind that NBA players are going up and down the court pretty much full speed. They are also jumping and dunking and shooting and playing defense.

It’s like a crossfit workout on steroids.

Here’s what I think this means to the average Joe: Getting your daily mileage in is certainly important. But it is equally as important to get in at least 30 to 45 minutes of speedwork in per week. The reason is this: Your body gets used to your regular daily runs. But if you can shock it weekly – with interval training or mile repeats – you can really increase your fitness.

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