Data Visualizations
from Best Tickets

Players of the NFL and the NBA: A Side-By-Side Comparison

The NFL and NBA are both full of top-flight athletes around the world. Some of these individuals could make the roster in either league, but many of them are specialized for their particular sport of choice. Using data from our NBA Census and NFL census, we compared the population of each league side-by-side. Our findings are shown below.

Height & Weight

The first and most basic comparison from our data is the average height and weight of players in each league. It comes as no surprise that NBA players are about six inches taller on average than NFL players. The NFL is heavier by more than 10 pounds, as there are more than 425 players in the league who weigh 300 pounds or more. The heaviest NBA player is Nikola Pekovic of the Timberwolves at 290.

The prototypical NBA player is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the Charlotte Bobcats, who is just a pound shy of hitting the NBA average. Also, as a Kentucky product, he comes from the school with the most players currently in the NBA. Oddly, the prototype NFL player is Cowboys LB Bruce Carter, who is just a pound overweight from fitting the NFL prototype profile.

Race DistributionAs we know from our previous studies, the black population dominates both leagues. However, the concentration of black players in the NBA is slightly higher than that of the NFL. Also, there are nearly 10% more white players in the NFL than there are in the NBA.

PayPerYearHere is one you may not have been expecting. NBA players make more than 2.5 times as much as NFL players annually. With 82 NBA games a year vs the NFL’s 16, this does make some sense, and the following chart clears things up a little bit.

PayPerMinAs far as pay per time playing, the NBA still edges out the NFL, but they are really quite close when compared this way. On a side note, this is just the average pay for the two leagues. Kobe Bryant makes more than $10,000 per minute played (roughly).

ExperienceFinally, the percentage of players with a certain number of years of experience in each league. The NFL has a larger population of young guys, but as players get older they disappear more rapidly than in the NBA. Football is a brutal sport when compared to basketball, so this doesn’t really come as a surprise.


For requests regarding the data, or media inquiries, please contact

Concept Development: Brett Cohen, Andrew Powell-Morse

Created by: Andrew Powell-Morse

Brought to you by: Best Tickets


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