We’ve blogged before about the (relatively small) effect of birth month on athletic excellence. But how does birth location affect a potential athlete? In The New York Times, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz calculated the probability of getting to the N.B.A. by Zip code. He found that players like LeBron James, born to a low-income teenage mom, are the exceptions to the rule:
I recently calculated the probability of reaching the N.B.A., by race, in every county in the United States. I got data on births from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; data on basketball players from basketball-reference.com; and per capita income from the census. The results? Growing up in a wealthier neighborhood is a major, positive predictor of reaching the N.B.A. for both black and white men. Is this driven by sons of N.B.A. players like the Warriors’ brilliant Stephen Curry? Nope. Take them out and the result is similar.