Ball Don't Lie - NBA

For basketball fans, few cultural touchstones hold as much nostalgic pull as the 1996 comedy "Space Jam," a Michael Jordan vehicle in which His Airness joins forces with the Looney Tunes to defeat evil space villains who steal the talent of such '90s basketball luminaries as Shawn Bradley and Muggsy Bogues. It's not as good a film as the next film starring these classic characters, the cruelly underrated "Looney Tunes: Back in Action," but "Space Jam" nevertheless means a lot to anyone who grew up watching basketball 15 years ago.

It means enough, in fact, that Andrew Mooney of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective decided to extrapolate from the film's in-game action and create a box score for the battle between the Looney Tunes and Monstars. A few of the important findings, as posted by Mooney on Deadspin:

As paramedics inflate Jordan's assistant Stan Podolak following his lone bucket, the scoreboard clearly shows the Monstars ahead 77-67 with 10 seconds remaining. Yet following his treatment and the surprise entrance of Bill Murray, the score has changed to 77-76 with no time having elapsed. Perhaps Marvin the Martian, the head official, got fed up with the Monstars' rugged defense -- they injured all but four of the players on the original Tunes roster -- and issued a slew of technical fouls. We'll never know. [...]

Jordan's usage rate is 44 percent, meaning he used 44 percent of his team's possessions. For comparison's sake, the NBA single-season record is Kobe's 39 percent in 2006. MJ is second at 38 percent. There were plenty of games in which Jordan actually exceeded that 44 percent usage rate. In Game 6 of the 1998 Finals, for instance, he checked in at 55 percent. This is probably the second-most realistic part of the movie. [...]

Both teams shot an extraordinary percentage from the field, due in large part to the vast majority of field goals scored by dunk. In fact, only one field goal was missed during the action in the film -- Bupkus was thwarted by the initiative of one Wile E. Coyote and his timely detonation of a small cache of explosives strategically placed around the hoop. [...]

Blanko, the Shawn Bradley Monstar, failed to register a single stat throughout the course of the game. Even in a world where Elmer Fudd has a 40-inch vertical, Bradley's "talent" can't muster even a shot attempt. This is the most realistic aspect of the movie.

There's much more where that came from, including Bill Murray's sad stat line (this was before "Rushmore," remember, at perhaps his professional nadir) and a dominant performance from Pound, the Charles Barkley Monstar. It's an incredible piece by Mooney, the kind of thing I hope to see more of in the future. Jordan's usage rate may shock you, but wait until you see the numbers for Teen Wolf.

Check out the final box score compiled by Deadspin:

Tunes


StartersFGM-A3PM-AFTM-AREBASTSTLBLKTOPTSPTS BY DUNK
Michael Jordan22-220-00-0000024424
Bugs Bunny5-50-00-0030041010
Lola Bunny4-40-00-00000088
Daffy Duck2-20-00-00010344
Tasmanian Devil2-20-00-00000044
Bench          
Sylvester0-00-00-00000200
Wile E.0-00-00-00000100
Porky Pig1-10-00-00000122
Elmer Fudd1-10-00-00000022
Pepé Le Pew1-10-00-00000022
Foghorn0-00-00-00000200
Tweety Bird0-00-00-00000000
S. Podolak1-10-00-00000020
Bill Murray0-00-00-00000000
Totals39-390-00-00310157856

Monstars


StartersFGM-A3PM-AFTM-AREBASTSTLBLKTOPTSPTS BY DUNK
Pound (Barkley)16-165-50-0006013737
Bang (Johnson)3-30-00-00020066
Nawt (Bogues)0-00-00-00640000
Bupkus (Ewing)15-164-40-0002003434
Blanko (Bradley)0-00-00-00000000
Totals34-359-90-00614017777

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