Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Michael Jordan

10 minutes of pure greatness ...
Downloads: Views: 8875

And one of my favorite MJ clips ever ...
Downloads: Views: 21728

That Michael Jordan fellow was a pretty good basketball player

However, just in case you weren't convinced, Ben Blatt of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective calculated the odds of Michael Jordan's epic run of going eight years without losing three games in a row:

MJ was never part of a three-game losing streak from November 1990 until he retired from the Bulls (for the second time) in 1998. This streak, brought to my attention in Bill Simmons' recent "Trade Value List" column, includes 500 regular season games and 126 playoff games, for a total span of 626 games. Just how unlikely was this streak? Let's start by determining the chances for a typical .500 team.

We can accomplish this through the use of a statistical tool known as binomial distribution. Statisticians use this technique to figure out the probability of a success-failure event occurring x times in n number of opportunities, provided that we know the chance of the event occurring any one time. In order for us to use it here, we have to determine n (the number of chances the Bulls had at losing three in a row), p (the probability of a single three game losing streak) and x (the number of single three game losing observed in n trials). With the Bulls, we observed 0 three game losing streaks in n trials, so x equals zero. If we are looking at .500 team, the probability (p) of a team losing three games in a set three game span is simply .500 cubed, or .125. The number of chances the Bulls had at losing three games in a row was 624. This is because there were 624 separate chances for the Bulls to lose three consecutive games (games 1-3, 2-4, 3-5...all the way to 624-626).

Using x=0, p=.125 and n=624, we get a probability of a team going on such a streak at 0.00000000000000000000000000000000006502%, about one out of every two-undecillion tries. If you haven't heard of undecillion before, don't worry. Neither have I, or Microsoft Word. Just realize how unlikely of an event that is.

Of course, Jordan and his Bulls were no .500 team. So after a few more calculations, Blatt's watch spits out a probability of the Bulls going on such a streak at .2114% — or about one out of five hundred.

"Even for a team that had the ability to maintain such a high record for such a long time, we should have expected them to have at least one three game losing streak 99.8% of the time," Blatt expains.

Aaaaaaaaand ... this is where you start arguing about who's the G.O.A.T. — Jordan or Kobe.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment