What the Data Says About Houston Rockets Fans' ‘Saltiness’ 

Cleveland Cavaliers v Houston Rockets
Cleveland Cavaliers v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Each NBA fanbase brings something unique to the ecosystem, and Houston Rockets fans are no different. Whether it’s a certain in-arena flair or online presence, every fanbase has something that sets them apart. The most universal traits of any fanbase are celebrating wins and bemoaning losses. However, even there, fanbases differ. 

Paul Bogdan of Nylon Calculus utilized Reddit post data to determine the ‘saltiest’ fanbases. This is how Bogdan explains his process: 

""To answer these questions, I collected and analyzed message-board data from Reddit – the popular discussion platform, which houses an online community, or “subreddit”, for every NBA team. These communities discuss each game in “Post Game” discussion threads. My analyses focused on whether word usage within these threads (2017-2021) was positive or negative. The average level of positivity vs. negativity — often referred to as the “valence” — was scored using VADER, a language processing tool designed for online settings.""

It should be noted, that Reddit users are not representative of an entire fanbase, but it’s likely that among fanbases, they attract a similar demographic. 

According to Reddit data, Rockets fans were relatively average, compared to other NBA fanbases, when it came to losing. Their loss-valence of .0627 was the 14th highest in the league. When it came to losing, Rockets fans hardly stood out. 

However, when it came to winning, Rockets fans were the least happy fanbase in the league. Their win-valence of .1581 was by far the lowest in the league, and they were the only fanbase to be below .2. 

Overall, the difference between the agony of defeat and the joy of winning was the smallest among Houston Rockets fans, at least, according to Reddit users. While the data is clear, explaining the Rockets' placement is not. 

It could be that the fanbase is disinterested, or it could be that they’re fully committed to a rebuild. Every loss improved their chances of getting the first overall pick, while every win hurt those same odds. It can’t be said with any certainty what drove the Rockets' Reddit post-game musings, but being locked in on the NBA Draft would be the simplest and most obvious explanation. 

The Rockets might be the “saltiest” fanbase in the league, or they could be most committed to the rebuild. Chances are, it’s a little bit of both. Hopefully, when the wins become more plentiful, Rockets’ Reddit will be a bit more appreciative. 

Rafael Stone starts to get deserved recognition. dark. Next