Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Harm, but No Foul?

It’s no secret that big-name players in every sport seem to get “special treatment” from the refs from time to time, but have you ever wondered just how deep it goes?

Zachariah Blott with Empty The Bench has, and so he decided to take a long, hard look at the face of the NBA: LeBron James.

James is no doubt an amazing athlete – the 25-year-old leads the league in scoring, averaging just shy of 30 points per game after 46 outings to go along with seven rebounds and eight assists. But what’s even more impressive is that he has been putting up numbers close to that for his entire six-year career.

The most interesting part of his stat line, as Blott points out, can be found in the “personal fouls” column.

In just over 1,700 minutes on the court this season, King James has racked up 77 fouls – one for every 22.1 minutes played. The rest of the league (298,868 minutes played; 26,473 fouls) is averaging one foul every 11.3 minutes.

Conspiracy theorists, get your notepads out: That means that James is about half as likely to be called for a foul than the rest of the league as a whole!

If you’re still skeptical, Blott compares the Cleveland superstar’s numbers to other players of his stature throughout the years like Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan…and he’s still registering far lower numbers in that category.

Why is this significant?

Well, the NBA isn't that far removed from a scandal that rocked the sport: a veteran referee wound up going to jail on wire fraud charges related to gambling on games - and Tim Donaghy claims he wasn’t the only one doing it.

He recently said he could correctly pick the outcomes of about 70 per cent of games based solely on who was reffing.

Of course the NBA brushed his claims aside, trying to make us all believe that he acted alone…but the stats make you wonder, don’t they?

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