Sports love statistics. Sports fans loves statistics....but unless you have been in the game a long time, you may not know what each statistic means or how to read the back of a card. I'm going to change that for the NBA and NASCAR, I don't have enough knowledge to do that for other sports.
Average Minutes a game is a rarer stat to see on cards and is the average time spent on the floor. Mitch Richmond was the best player on the team and spent a lot of time on the court. Each game is 48 minutes with the possibility of a 5 minute overtime, overtimes are unlimited which means as many will be played as needed to not result in a tie.
Field Goals made and Attempted means how many shots he scored on and how many he tried to.
3 Point Made and attempted is for shots beyond the arc. The NBA introduced the 3 point line in 1979, the ABA had it as well. It continues to increase in importance as time moves along.
FT means Free Throw and that is the shots taken by a player after a foul. They count for one point.
Offensive Rebounds is how many times you grabbed the ball when you or your teammates missed a shot, Defensive Rebounds is when your opponent missed a shot. These stats are usually combined into simply "Rebounds"
AST stands for Assist, which is when you pass to a teammate that immediately leads to a scoring basket. Assists are not counted for missed baskets and only one player per play can get an assist.
STL stands for Steal, which is when you take the ball away from the opposing team. It does not count if the opponent looses control of the ball out of bounds, that's a turnover but those never appear on cards. (balls lost to steals also count as turnovers)
BLK is Block, which is when you stop the ball from scoring while it's on an upward arc. Blocks are the hardest major statistic to accumulate and they can also be quite spectacular. There are some players who have built careers almost solely on their ability to block shots.
PTS is Points, which is the major statistical category in the NBA. Points can be accumulated in 1, 2 and 3 as noted above, and the better you are at scoring points the more likely you will stick and be a star in the NBA. Mich Richmond eventually became the 12th all-time leading scorer in NBA history.
AVG is average points per game, which is what the NBA uses to determine the leading scorer, which is a shame, because the person who actually scores the most points is not always considered the league leader. Some sets will use averages for Rebounds, Assists, Steals and Blocks as well, which I personally hate. Averages mean nothing, actual totals are what's important.
Not shown on any of these cards, but appearing rarely, is GS, which means Games Started. The 5 players who start each game are generally considered the best players on the team, and being named a starter is a career accomplishment. With 450 players in the NBA, only 150 can be starters.
I think that covers all the stats that appear on cards. though the NBA does keep other stats. Turnovers, how many times you were blocked, how many times you had the ball stolen, all are recorded by the league, but none of those stats have ever appeared on a card or are likely to.
Thanks for reading, and if I missed any, please feel free to point it out in the comments.
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