The Daily Turkey

November 21, 2007


With Thanksgiving apparently on the horizon, Dash was forced to fly back to Chicago via Manchester Regional Airport. Manchester, the Queen City, the Singapore of the Somnambulistic, is most famous for being the home of former president Jed Bartlett (its main street also may or may not have two dead ends. Alas, citation needed). But longtime readers (e.g. Nowithabang…, ibiteyoureyes, and Jennifer) know that Manchester was also the sight where Yesterday’s Salad relaunched, just about one year ago with this post about poopy-adj (and new readers though we were only about feet!). So allow me to open this month of selbstcelebration with a link.

One of my favorite blogs is the Wages of Wins blog, which analyses basketball from an academic economics perspective. Or, the “Moneyball” of Basketball, if you will. Either way, it’s very different from our classically trained rhetor and presbyter, theciceronian,
who analyses Basketball with an eye on the true and the good. One of the blog’s authors, Mr. Berri, posted today with an article about my favorite part of the book, the end notes. Here’s what he has to say:

“My sense is that few people ever bothered to read any of these, which means some “gems” have been missed. One such gem is the first end note of Chapter 10.

Five games into his NBA career Glenn Robinson made the following observation quoted in an Associated Press article written by Jim Litke (1994): “I expect to do what I’m supposed to do. But a lot of people that don’t know the game, they think it’s all about scoring. I look at it from a team perspective. We have to do well as a team. I don’t need to go out there and score 30 points a game and have us lose. That won’t do us any good. It would help me individually.” Robinson added: “But I want to see all of us get something done.” So a very young Robinson notes that scoring helps him individually but may not help the team. It is interesting that this quote captures the essence of the argument we make in this chapter. Scoring does help a player earn more money. Wins, though, are about more than scoring.

This quote is interesting because it captures one of the basic stories we tell in The Wages of Wins. Scoring gets you attention and it will get you paid. But scoring by itself doesn’t win games. Robinson knew this basic lesson five games into his career.”

While I agree that it is shameful that many readers skip the notes, I do want to point out that there is nothing inherently interesting about the fact that the quote captures one of the basic stories of the Wages of Wins. Indeed, one would hardly expect the authors to have included a quote that didn’t reflect or in some way elucidate the thesis of the book. What is interesting is the fact that the otherwise undistinguished Big Dog, Glenn Robinson came to this realization. Still, I wonder if this didn’t hurt his career. Scorers like Dominique Wilkins are the stuff of legend, while productive role players languish in obscurity. The real question is, what is the happy median between a player’s economic interest and the interests of the team?