Student Achievement

‘NBA Math Hoops’ Aims to Merge Basketball, Academics

By Bryan Toporek — January 16, 2013 1 min read
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Basketball has always been a game of numbers. But soon, those numbers could be working their way into a classroom near you.

As a not-so-secret hoops addict, I’d be remiss to not point you to an education startup called “NBA Math Hoops,” which was recently featured in an article on

In “NBA Math Hoops,” students use real data from National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) players to compete in “timed, simulated basketball games,” according to the program’s website. Students pair up in teams of two and aim to be the first to complete math problems within a specified time limit (a “shot clock”).

The first team to complete the math problems correctly earns the chance to take a shot with an NBA or WNBA player, using the players’ real-life shooting percentages.

The program launched in seven pilot schools in 2010, each with at least 50 percent of students qualifying for either free or reduced lunch. The results were “astounding,” with students improving their math scores by 51 percent in three tested areas, according to the program’s website. Students’ feelings toward math also showed “measurable gains” after participating in the program, based on pre- and post-program attitudinal assessments.

It’s now being utilized in 350 schools across the United States, with both the NBA and Hasbro signed on as partners. The program is also aligned with the Common Core State Standards, which 46 states and the District of Columbia have signed on to use.

For more about the intersection of basketball and academics, check out this post from September on LeBron James appearing in a Khan Academy video series.

Programming note: I’m headed on vacation to Japan tomorrow and will be gone through next Friday, Jan. 25th. Gina Cairney, our trusty Web team intern, will be blogging in my stead.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.