SI Vault
Edited by Craig Neff
June 04, 1990
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June 04, 1990


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Even if milk shaking isn't medically harmful, it's a cruel practice that should be banned by all states. As Stan Berg-stein, executive vice-president of Harness Tracks of America, says, "It smacks of inhumanity to try to stuff a tube down a horse's throat on race day."


Last week Los Angeles Laker guard Magic Johnson won his third NBA Most Valuable Player award, edging out the Philadelphia 76ers' Charles Barkley and the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan in balloting by members of the basketball media. To most of us, any of the three top vote-getters would have been an acceptable choice, but in the view of Bob Bellotti, a statistical consultant to three NBA teams, Jordan was the only pick. "It's not even close," he says.

Bellotti's reasoning is purely mathematical. Several years ago he invented a statistic called "points created," which takes into account a player's points scored, rebounds, assists, steals, blocked shots, turnovers, personal fouls and missed shots. Jordan had better stats than Johnson in five of those eight categories this season, so it's not surprising that he also led Magic in "points created per minute," .871 to .819. (The Utah Jazz's Karl Malone was third with .806, while Barkley was seventh at .775.)

Bellotti's formula incorporates the fact that NBA teams score an average of 93.6 points for every 100 times they take possession of the ball. A turnover is therefore worth-.936 points and a steal + .936. In calculating this season's points-created-per-minute figures, Bellotti found that 11 players—the most in any NBA season in history—had surpassed the .700 mark. His conclusion: "More NBA players than ever before are playing extraordinary basketball."


Sailing around the world used to be an impressive enough feat in its own right. But in 1968, the London Sunday Times created a race offering prize money to the yacht that completed the journey fastest. Thus was born what is now called the Whitbread Round the World Race, named for its sponsor, an English brewery, and known for its wild goings-on. The fifth Whitbread ended last week in Southampton, England.

The winner, Steinlager 2, an 84-foot ketch from New Zealand, completed the grueling six-leg, 32,900-mile regatta in just over 128 days—more than a day ahead of runner-up Fisher & Paykel, also of New Zealand. But in sailing from England to Uruguay to Australia to New Zealand to Uruguay to the U.S. (Fort Lauderdale) and finally back to England, few of the 23 boats in the field came through unscathed.

The calamities began just two hours after the race started last Sept. 2, when three boats ran aground near Southampton. Three weeks later, a gale-force storm brought down a mast on Fisher & Paykel and ripped open the deck on a British entrant, Rothmans. In October, tragedy struck. Alexei Grishenko, skipper of the lone Soviet yacht, Fazisi, hanged himself from a tree in Punta del Este, Uruguay; he was said to have been under strain from the rigors of putting together the Soviets' first Whitbread program. Another fatality occurred a month later when Tony Phillips, a crewman on the British boat Creightons Naturally, was washed overboard. At other times in the race, boats narrowly dodged icebergs, were batted about by whales and were spun around by waterspouts.

The next Whitbread is scheduled for 1993-94. This year's survivors may need until then to recuperate.

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