The smartest fans in the NBA

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The smartest fans in the NBA

The NBA has millions of fans across the country, with many able to offer clever analysis and tactical genius. But how do supporters stack up when it comes to real-world intelligence and education? 

In response to a recent study that shows the relationship between education and intellect and claims that each additional year of education contributes 1-5 additional IQ points, we decided to crunch the numbers to reveal the NBA’s smartest fanbases. Read on to see where your team ranks.

1. Toronto Raptors

According to our research, the Toronto Raptors officially have the most educated fans in the NBA, with an overall index score of 8.83 out of 15. Delving into the data, an impressive 26.4% of Raptors supporters have a post-secondary education, the fifth-highest rate of all NBA fanbases, while just 0.6% have failed to obtain at least primary level learning. 

2. Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks has the second-smartest supporters, with an index score of 8.62. No other team has more fans with a post-secondary education (27.6%), while they also have an above-average number of fans with upper-secondary qualifications. Meanwhile, fewer than 1% of Mavericks fans have no education whatsoever. 

3. Denver Nuggets

With the third smartest fanbase, the Denver Nuggets have an index score of 8.59, helped along by having the highest rate of supporters going into work after graduating high school (56.9%). They’re also well-above average when it comes to the number of fans with at least the basic qualifications, with just 0.4% having no formal education. 

4. Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns supporters also rank among the smartest fanbases, with an impressive index score of 8.59. They rank among the Top 10 teams for fans peaking at upper (54.6%) and secondary education (25.3%), while also having the highest rate of fans with at least a primary level of learning (99.9%). 

5. New York Knicks

Completing the five smartest fanbases, we have the New York Knicks, with a solid index score of 8.56, primarily helped by having the second-highest rate of post-secondary graduates in the NBA (27.4%). The Knicks also have an above-average rate of fans who left school with upper secondary education (55.5%). Meanwhile, just 0.7% record no education at all, which is below the NBA average (1.11%).

Which fanbases miss out on the Top 5?

Just missing out on a place in the Top 5, we have the Portland Trail Blazers (8.54), with the third-highest rate of fans with post-secondary education (26.6%). 

They’re followed by the Atlanta Hawks (8.51) and Los Angeles Clippers (8.49), whose fanbases each rank among the most likely to have an upper secondary education – with 55.7% and 55.8% reaching this level, respectively — while the Charlotte Hornets (8.45) trail closely behind, with 26.6% of supporters earning post-secondary qualifications. 

Finally, rounding out the 10 smartest NBA fanbases, the Sacramento Kings record an index score of 8.45, helped by 99.8% of fans having at least some level of formal learning. 

The NBA’s Least-Educated Supporters

At the other end of the rankings, the Golden State Warriors have the least-educated fans, with an index score of 5.87 out of 15. This comes as over 5% of supporters are reported to have no formal education, while just 17.3% have post-secondary qualifications – fewer than any other franchise. 

Next up, we have fans of the Chicago Bulls, who can only record an index score of 7.56. The Bulls rank joint-second worst when it comes to a lack of education, alongside the Los Angeles Lakers, with almost 2% of supporters holding no qualifications.

Rounding out the three least-educated NBA fanbases, a relatively low 21.8% of Cleveland Cavaliers (7.66) supporters are also post-secondary graduates, while 1.6% never went to school.

How do NBA Fanbases Compare to the Broader Population?

Regarding post-secondary education, roughly a third of Americans hold a college degree, while almost 91% have graduated high school. But how does this compare to the typical NBA fanbase? 

According to our research, fewer than one in four basketball fans earn a university education, placing them well below the national average, while just 78% have graduated high school – again, below the U.S. average. 

Analyzing our data, the Dallas Mavericks come closest to the national benchmark, with 27.6% of supporters earning a university degree, followed by the New York Knicks (27.4%), Charlotte Hornets (26.6%), and Portland Trail Blazers (26.6%). 

Meanwhile, 83% of Knicks fans have graduated high school, ahead of the Atlanta Hawks (81.6%), Dallas Mavericks (81.3%), Portland Trail Blazers (81%), and Denver Nuggets (80.9%).  [AN1]

Of course, while there’s a general correlation, education doesn’t always equal intelligence, and you’re likely to find that some fans are smarter than you’d first think! And if you found this article interesting, why not head over to our blog for even more insight from our experts. 


 [AN1]I presume upper secondary % + post-secondary % = total % with at least upper secondary education?