How Often Do NBA Players Travel? (A lot!)

Most NBA teams are in different states across the US.

So, just how much do NBA players travel?

NBA players are the most traveled athletes among major sports. Of 82 games that each team plays in a season, half of them are away games. We estimate that NBA players take anywhere from 42 to 100 flights a season.

But how exactly do they travel? Do they have their own planes? We know you have a lot more questions that’s why we’ve prepared this guide for you.

How Often Do NBA Players Travel?

Each NBA team plays 82 games per season and half of them are played in other stadiums (away) while the other half is at home.

So, the simple answer is NBA players take around anywhere from 42 to 100 flights a season. This includes the pre-season, playoffs, and the All-Star weekend.

Before each season, the NBA releases the schedules for each team for the regular season. To maximize their away and home time, you’ll see that they’ll play multiple games at home and on the road consecutively.

To add, their games have one rest day in between to account for travel.

For instance, the Golden State Warriors might play at home from December 25 to January 10 for a total of 8 games. Then, for the next 5 games, they’ll all play road games.

With this format, the teams will get more time to rest and spend time with their family at home games.

How do NBA Players Travel?

NBA players travel either by plane or bus. They will take the plane usually if the opponent’s stadium is two or more hours away. But if it’s within the same or just a neighboring state, then they will travel by bus.

Out of all 30 NBA teams, 27 teams charter Delta Airlines planes for away games. The other two teams use other airlines while the Dallas Mavericks have their own private plane courtesy of owner Mark Cuban.

Most NBA teams also have their own buses for away games that are only considered short trips. They’re decked with amenities to keep the players comfortable during the ride.

But during home games, players will come individually using their own means of transport. Some like to ride in style in sports cars or motorbikes. Kobe Bryant even rode on helicopters at home games to dodge the bad traffic in LA.

When NBA players are at home, they’ll mostly come with their family and friends to the stadium come game day.

Who Pays for the Travel, Food and Accommodation?

During away games, the travel, accommodation, and food of players are paid for by their respective teams. This is included in their contract, so they don’t have to pay anything.

But if they want to live a lavish life, they can certainly dine in five-star restaurants and stay at luxurious hotels. Of course, this is all going to come out of their pockets.

But all basic living expenses are paid for by their teams so they can rest comfortably and play at their best.

Do NBA Players Share Hotel Rooms?

NBA players are some of the best-paid athletes in the world with an average salary of $7.5 million annually. So, it makes sense that they are provided with the best hotel accommodations.

They mostly stay at four- or five-star hotels during away games paid for by their team. As such, they will likely have their own rooms unless they want to share with their teammates.

It’s a common practice for players to go into their teammates’ hotel rooms to play card games or to hang out.

But for privacy and maximum rest, we imagine that they don’t share rooms.

Which NBA Players Travel the Most?

Each team plays 82 games in the regular season but not all players will play all the games. A lot of them will miss games due to injuries and other emergencies.

So, this narrows down our search to only a few players. During the 2022 season, only five players have completed the 82 games:

  • Mikal Bridges
  • Kevon Looney
  • Deni Avdija
  • Saddiq Bey
  • Dwight Powell

But among these players, Kevon Looney is probably the one who traveled the most simply due to the number of games played. That’s because his team, Golden State Warriors is the one who reached the Finals.

What Professional Sports Have Players Traveled the Most?

We know that NBA players travel a lot. But how exactly does the NBA compare with other major leagues in terms of miles traveled?

You can look at this table to compare:

League (Sport)Average Travel Distance (Miles)
1. NBA (Basketball)85,444
2. NHL (Hockey)83,787
3. MLB (Baseball)70,454
4. NFL (American Football)17,075
5. Premier League (Football)10,481

When you look at this table, you can see that the NBA travels the most out of all major sports. But that’s just the average as the highest miles are clocked in by the Portland Trailblazers with 130,548.

On the other hand, Indiana Pacers seem to be traveling less with only 63,404 miles covered in a season.


Do NBA players drive to games?

Yes, they drive when they’re playing home games. Some drive to the arena themselves with their sports cars. While others have personal drivers that drive them to and from the arena.

But for away games, they’re either on the team plane or bus with the whole team and staff.

How many NBA teams have their own planes?

As of now, only one team has its own plane which is the Dallas Mavericks. The plane is provided by the billionaire owner Mark Cuban.

While most of the league charters are Delta Airlines planes and other providers.

Do NBA players travel every day?

NBA players won’t travel every day thanks to the systematic schedule that the NBA provides. They’ll have multiple days at home and multiple days on road.

But even then, they’ll have rest days in between games so they won’t necessarily have to travel every day. But depending on the schedule, they may have to travel consecutively.

Final Thoughts

The NBA is the most traveled league in all major sports in the world. That’s why it’s not surprising to see many players missing a lot of games due to exhaustion and injuries.

In the end, they can’t avoid traveling since half of their regular season games are away games.

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