Can Steve Ballmer identify a basketball game purely by the numbers? Can you?
That’s our challenge on this new episode of the Numbers Geek podcast, featuring the former Microsoft CEO and current owner of the L.A. Clippers.
We’ve given Steve multiple pages of statistics from a specific, legendary NBA game — a box score showing the scoring by quarter, plus a bunch of other numbers about the game and players. But the stats we’ve given him are missing some very important details. We’ve removed the names of the teams and players, and taken away everything except the numbers and statistical categories. You can check out the stats below, and follow along with Steve as you listen to this episode to see if you can figure it out before he does.
Even if you don’t love basketball, it’s fascinating to hear how Steve understands the game through the numbers. Also listen for cameos by ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, and WNBA legend Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm, who will be the featured guest on a future episode of the show.
Here are the stats behind this legendary game. (Click for larger versions.) Good luck solving the mystery!
Thanks for listening to Numbers Geek! Be sure to subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app. Later this season, we’ll feature another mystery document, challenging Steve to figure out the identity of a company based solely on its somewhat unusual financial results.
We’ll also return to the basketball court, going courtside with Steve and exploring the numbers behind one game to understand how the sport is changing.
And we’ll be back next week with another episode of Numbers Geek, looking at some of the key numbers behind one of the most important topics in the country right now.
With editing by Jim Valley, and reporting by Taylor Soper.