TORONTO – FEBRUARY 10: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the NHL game on February 10, 2007 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Penguins won in overtime 6-5. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Evgeni Malkin
Question: Who is Ed O’Bannon?
1. A car salesman in Henderson, Nevada.
2. The lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the NCAA regarding its failure to compensate former college athletes for the commercial use of their images.
3. A former consensus 1st Team All-American college basketball player who was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player after leading UCLA to the 1995 National Championship.
4. An NBA bust who recorded only 634 points, 316 rebounds, and 102 assists in 128 career games despite being selected by the New Jersey Nets with the 9th overall pick in the 1995 Draft.
Answer: All of the above. Just to be clear, the four statements apply to the same person, not four different people named Ed O’Bannon.
Sabermetics has taken over how baseball teams are constructed, how games are managed, and how players are evaluated. Whereas stats like HRs, RBIs and BA used to delineate players, MLB general managers now seem to be obsessed with stats like OBP, OPS, and WAR. I fully appreciate the importance of statistics when evaluating players, but I question the current over-reliance on them. In this post, I hope to discount the importance of wins above replacement (WAR) when evaluating greatness.
As discussed in a previous post, Sam Bowie is often highlighted as the biggest bust in NBA history simply because he was drafted ahead of Michael Jordan. While it’s clear that the Trail Blazers made a really bad decision regarding their 2nd overall pick in the 1984 Draft (especially given that Portland also passed up on Hall of Famer Charles Barkley), Bowie was not an all-time bust. In particular, he averaged approximately 11 points and eight rebounds per game during his career. On behalf of all players who achieved at least a minimum threshold of production during their careers and in honor of the most inappropriately maligned player in NBA history, I have created the Sam Bowie Exemption.