Last month’s installment of Are You Smarter Than an NBA Blogger was such a rip-roaring success that we decided to give it another go with our old crew. Smaller sample this time, as only 11 writers checked in for this one, but the results were no less astounding.
For those of you who missed the first article, or need reminding about how this goes down, I polled my totally anonymous group of NBA bloggers and asked them six trivia questions, all of which had multiple answers. The writers were encouraged to answer the questions as thoroughly as they could (without doing any Internet cheating), with no penalties for wrong answers. I then compiled the results and turned them into the data summaries you see below. I tried something a little different with the last question this time out — you’ll see what I mean when you get down there.
Given the six questions and 65 possible answers, my crack team performed most respectably, but far from flawlessly. Check out their nameless results, and as always, feel free to compare your own responses with theirs, and to tell us how much better you would have done in the comments section. And of course, this is all based off the still-excellent “Are You Smarter Than a Music Critic” run by Chris Weingarten over at the Village Voice. (When you’re done here, you can head over there and test your expertise on 20th-century experimental composer Steve Reich’s pieces.)
Question #1: Can You Name All 12 Members on the Playoff Squad for the ’95-’96 Bulls?
Simple enough starter — one of the most famous single-season teams of all time, the first and only team to ever win 70 or more games, a Finals champion, and one of the most closely followed teams ever due to it being Michael Jordan’s first full season back from his ’93 retirement. Surely it can’t be that tough to name its constituents? Ah, but once you get past the big names — which our crew did rather well on — it gets a little tricky, as the supporting cast featured some no-names, including ones that weren’t around for even the next two seasons’ Finals winners. Here’s how it went down:
The Correct Answer: Randy Brown, Jud Buechler, James Edwards, Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, John Salley, Bill Wennington
Number of Writers Who Got All 12 Members: 0
Number of Writers Who Got All But One: 1
Members of Team Guessed By Everyone: Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Bill Wennington
Least-Guessed Member of Team: James Edwards (1 out of 11)
Members of Team Guessed That Played in the Regular Season But Were Left Off the Playoff Roster: Jason Caffey, Jack Haley, Dickey Simpkins
Different Incorrect Spellings of “Jud Buechler”: Judd Buechler, Jud Buchler
Most Incorrectly Guessed Member of Team: BJ Armstrong (3 out of 11)
Number of Writers Who Possibly Thought that “B.J.” Stood for “Darrell”: 1
Writers Who Made Me Laugh By Guessing “Taco” Joe Kleine: 1
Other Incorrect (But Plausible) Guesses: Bill Cartwright, Bison Dele, Horace Grant, Scott Burrell, Scott Williams, Will Perdue
As with last time’s Dream Team starter, this first Q got my crew’s best performance. And as with last time, the next one was rough times:
2. Can You Name The Eight ABA Teams to Make the ABA Finals?
Writers love the ABA. With the big hair and the funny-looking ball and the Marvin “Bad News” Barnes — who among us hasn’t gone through that ABA retro phase at least once, right? It’s like getting way into David Lynch in college. But were we paying enough attention in history class to remember the eight teams that made at least one finals appearance in the league’s nine-year run? Let’s see:
The Correct Answer: New Orleans Buccaneers (’68), Kentucky Colonels (’71, ’73, ’75), New York Nets (’72, ’74, ’76), Denver Nuggets (’76), Oakland Oaks (’69), Indiana Pacers (’69, ’70, ’72, ’73, ’75), Pittsburgh Pipers (’68), Los Angeles/Utah Stars (’70, ’71, ’74)
Number of Writers Who Got All Eight Teams: 0
Number of Writers Who Got All But One: 1
Most-Guessed Correct Team: Indiana Pacers (9 out of 11)
Least-Guessed Correct Team: Oakland Oaks (0 out of 11)
Most-Guessed Incorrect Team: San Antonio Spurs (6 out of 11)
NBA Teams Guessed That Were Never in the ABA: Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Cincinnati Royals, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston/San Diego Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, Utah Jazz, Washington Bullets
Number of Writers Who Guessed “Wasn’t There Some Fish Team Called the Tams?”: 1 (Chuck O. Finley owned the Memphis Tams, but I’m not sure of the fish part.)
Number of Writers Who Guessed The “Flint Tropics,” Embarrassing Themselves By Admitting to Having Seen Semi-Pro: 1
Number of Writers Who Cursed Their Struggling Despite the Fact That They “Just Re-Read ‘Loose Balls,’ Too.”: 1
Other Plausible (But Incorrect) Teams Guessed: Miami Floridians, Minnesota Muskies, Spirits of St. Louis, Virginia Squires
Not a slam dunk, but truth told, I just read “Loose Balls“ for the first time myself, and I still never would have gotten the Oaks.
3. Can You Name All 15 Eastern Conference Home Stadiums?
In these days of NBA league pass, you can end up knowing your enemy’s home stadium nearly as well as your own. But will some recent building moves, and the league-wide trend towards bland, corporate namings, trip up our panel?
Correct Answer: Air Canada Centre, American Airlines Arena, Amway Center, Bradley Center, Conseco Fieldhouse, Madison Square Garden, Palace at Auburn Hills, Philips Arena, Prudential Center, Quicken Loans Arena, TD Banknorth Garden, Time Warner Cable Arena, United Center, Verizon Center, Wells Fargo Center
Number of Writers Who Got All 15 Eastern Stadiums: 1
Number of Writers Who Would’ve Gotten All 15 if They Hadn’t Mixed Up Amway Center with the Recently-Closed Amway Arena: 1
Stadiums Guessed Correctly By All Writers: Madison Square Garden
Least-Guessed Correct Stadium: Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte (4 out of 11, three of which left out the “Cable” part)
Most-Guessed Incorrect Stadium: IZOD Center in New Jersey
Number of Writers Who Believed the Nets Played in an “Abandoned Warehouse”: 1
Variations Guessed on Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center: Wachovia Center, First Union Center, ComcastLand, “Something Bankish”
Number of Writers Who Insisted That Anyone Who Spelled the “Centre” in Toronto’s Air Canada Center with an “-er” Shouldn’t Get Credit: 1
Number of Writers Who Apologized to Me Personally for Their Poor Performance, Insisting They Had in Fact Read Most of My 60/30 Series: 1 (Uh-huh.)
And so Madison Square Garden’s reputation as the most famous building in the world (or at least the Eastern Conference) lives for another day. Give it another 50 years, Verizon Center.
4. Can You Name the Eight Active Players With Over 1,500 Three-Pointers Made?
Since there has been a great deal of discussion this year about the names towards the top of the all-time three-pointers-made list — for obvious reasons — I figured I’d see who was really paying attention to those TNT graphics by asking about the eight players out today with over 1,500 treys drained in their career. For the record, these eight active leaders are all also in the top-ten for all-time rankings, joined by Dale Ellis and (of course) Reggie Miller.
The Correct Answer: Ray Allen, Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, Rashard Lewis, Steve Nash, Paul Pierce, Peja Stojakovic, Jason Terry
Number of Writers Who Got All Eight Players: 0
Number of Writers Who Got All But One: 3
Correct Players Guessed By Everyone: Ray Allen (duh) and Jason Kidd
Least-Guessed Correct Player: Jason Terry (4 out of 11)
Most-Guessed Incorrect Player: Kobe Bryant (8 out of 11 — 1,417 as of last night, 83 to go)
Some Other Incorrect Guesses, In Order of How Close They Were As of Last Night: Mike Bibby (1,488), Vince Carter (1,426), Jason Richardson (1,416), Dirk Nowitzki (1,196), Derek Fisher (1,094), Tracy McGrady (1,066), Gilbert Arenas (1,066), Michael Redd (1,002)
Good showing from our guys on this one too — I’m proud that you were all listening to Reggie’s three-point-marksman-aggrandizing this basketball season. Next time out: The active leaders in long twos.
5. Can You Name the 12 Players Drafted By the Clippers in the Lottery Since 1998?
Ah, lord love a Clipper. Since whiffing with the No. 1 overall pick of Michael Olowokandi in ’98, the Clips have found themselves doomed to be picking in the lottery every year but once since, trading for a second lottery pick in ’02 to make it an even 12 in 12 years. But what ripe young talents have the Clippers doomed to a career of ping-pong-ball watching since, none of whom were able to sufficiently turn around the team’s fortunes? The gruesome details:
The Correct Answer (In Chronological Order): Lamar Odom, Darius Miles, Tyson Chandler, Chris Wilcox, Melvin Ely, Chris Kaman, Shaun Livingston, Yaroslav Korolev, Al Thornton, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Al-Farouq Aminu
Number of Writers Who Got All 12 Players Correct: 0
Number of Writers Who Got All But One: 1
Lottery Picks Guessed Correctly By All Writers: Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman
Least-Guessed Correct Lottery Pick: Melvin Ely (0 out of 11)
Most-Guessed Incorrect Lottery Pick: Quentin Richardson (7 out of 11) (Q was taken with the trade-acquired 18th pick in ’00.)
Number of Writers Who Would’ve Somehow Gotten All 12 Players Correct, If I Hadn’t Forced Them To Choose Between Q-Rich and Ely and They Chose the Wrong One: 1 (Sorry, dude.)
Number of Writers Who Guessed Eric Piatkowski Three Times for No Real Reason: 1
Number of Writers Who Guessed Keith Closs Because “He’s Hilarious”: 1
Number of Writers Who Spelled it “Al-Farooq Aminu,” Which for Some Reason is Much Funnier: 1
Number of Writers Who Inaccurately but Not Illogically Guessed That the Clips Used One of the Picks on “an underage girl for Donald Sterling to be creepy around”: 1
You know what they say — those who forget about Melvin Ely are doomed to repeat him. And that brings us to our final question of the night…
6. Can You Name All Ten Songs on Nas’s 1994 Album “Illmatic?”
What? OK, well, I wanted to go with something not explicitly basketball-related here, but a pop culture question that I nonetheless felt our writers could still get a pretty good handle on. So I figured — besides hoops, what could NBA bloggers possibly love more uniformly than 90s East Coast hip-hop? I couldn’t ask about the Wu-Tang Clan, because the Voice already got to that one, and I didn’t want to ask about Biggie albums because they had too many tracks each, but at just ten tracks long, Nas’s seminal debut disc “Illmatic” was juuust right. So how did our unsuspecting writers react to the challenge?
The Correct Answer (In Tracklist Order): The Genesis, New York State of Mind, Life’s a Bitch, The World is Yours, Halftime, Memory Lane, One Love, One Time 4 Your Mind, Represent, It Ain’t Hard to Tell
Number of Writers Who Got All Ten Songs Correct: 2
Number of Writers Who Made At Least a Semi-Serious Attempt to Answer the Question: 7
Songs Guessed Correctly By Each of Those Seven Writers: “New York State of Mind,” “The World is Yours”
Least-Guessed Correct Song: “The Genesis” (3 out of 11)
Number of Writers Who Attempted to Answer in Correct Track Order, But Mixed Up “One Love” and “One Time 4 Your Mind” (And Were Pissed Off About It): 1
Number of Writers Who Attempted to Answer in Correct Track Order, But Couldn’t Remember “One Love” or “One Time 4 Your Mind” (And Were Pissed Off About It): 1
Number of Writers Who Named Every Nas Song They Knew, None of Which Were Released Within Seven Years of “Illmatic“: 1
Number of Writers Who Couldn’t Name a Single Song on “Illmatic,” But Guessed That There Was “Probably One Called Like ‘I Am God’ or ‘Nas is Really Great’ Or Something”: 1
Number of Writers Who Named The Ten Songs Off the Second Side of The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” Instead: 1
Well done on your first-ever pop culture challenge, lads. Half-blogger, half-amazing, our crew.