STAT WARS! Join Me In The Michael Jordan Vs. LeBron James Juiced Stats Battle After MJ's 1987-88 DPOY Was Pathetically Attempted To Be Shot Down

Did Michael Jordan's 1987-88 DPOY depend on the home court stat counters to make him the first player to ever win the scoring title and defensive player of the year in the same season? Has LeBron James "been chasing a ghost?" in his GOAT quest? That's the sad case being made in this in-depth statistical breakdown below by Tom Haberstroh of Yahoo. 

The main point of the article is that while the author accepts home stat padding was rampant in the 80s, some select stats were so skewed for Michael Jordan home games during his 1987-88 DPOY season that they must have been deliberately made up by Chicago's home scorekeeper. And presumably, that Jordan would not have won DPOY without the doctored stats. 

Here's the thing. Home stat padding on close subjective plays is and has always been a thing. There's no way every single one of Michael Jordan's steals, blocks and assists are all legit. Including his DPOY 1987-88 season. Stars get the calls from officials both on and off the court. But please. This whole angle is pathetic. And you better believe LeBron James is no different in this sort of treatment. 

The fact of the matter is that stat recording is basically like election fraud. There's absolutely shenanigans that occur on a small scale with biased mom and pop operations. There's just no way around that. That wasn't new for Trump complaining about it in 2020, or Hillary in 2016. But on the whole, there's no substantive evidence to say some huge conspiracy transpired that tipped the scale in some grand fashion. 

Storm Trooper Tom thinks otherwise regarding the 1987-88 Defensive Player of the Year. 

If there's one thing to take away from this graph it's this. Yes - there was a player in the NBA named "Fat Lever". But if there's another, it's that Michael Jordan is made to look like some astronomical outlier. With 165 steals at home vs 94 on the road, that's a 176% increase in steals when at home. Certainly that has to be an all time high if someone's going to make the case that this discredits Michael Jordan's 1987-88 DPOY, right? 

Well I ran some numbers of my own. Here are the 100 players with the highest percentage of home steals vs on the road using a minimum of 25 steals in both splits. Jordan gotta be #1 with his performance enhancing stats, right?

Not even close.


Let's play Storm Trooper Tom's game here. Are we to believe the great Maurice Cheeks was stat juiced with a greater magnitude as Jordan's DOPY year not just once in 1981-82, but again in 1983-84? And that whoever was stat padding for the Bulls decided decades later that Kirk Heinrich deserved two seasons with inflated home steals as well?

The article also ommits 1985-86 DPOY winner, Alvin Robertson's disparate home/road steals splits, which are absolutely in the ball park with Mike's 176% in 1987-88.

Interesting how he was left out of the article. Certainly puts a damper on that magnatude thing don't you think?

What about this idea? What if Michael Jordan was doing Michael Jordan things like finding a reason to get himself seeing red like the psycho that he was towards accomplishing a goal? Like he did time and time again in his career. Any chance that might have been the predominant factor at play here? Again, I fully expect a lot of his subjective stats to have error in them, but so does everyone of consequence. There's a reason Bob Ryan who didn't consider stats and was admittedly a bit biased against Jordan still said he was the clear DPOY, which to Tom's credit, he mentions. 

But there was no mention of the fact that the Bulls - at least in the 80s/90s - had a circus road trip every November that lasted weeks in which they often played back-to-back road games on the West coast. They played 15 road games that season with zero days rest that season vs only seven at home. 

Now a lot of people are saying this article was all incepted from Klutch (AKA LeBron) and that perhaps the author really is some equivalent of a Strom Trooper mercenary for the Empire. But let's be fair to Tom. Just because this article seethes of desperate LeBron-centric stats doesn't mean all of his research projects follow suit. 

Speaking of LeBron, while many on Twitter posted play after play of his generous home assists, I crunched the data to see what was what. Check out this chart of his home/road assists splits. If Tom's assertion is that Jordan got a special statistician and LeBron didn't, I'd like to hear more about how the only years his assists were relatively even was when he was on the Heat (Heat Culture would never stat pad) or it was during COVID when playing at home vs on the road was merely nominal.


Again. Funny stat recording happens. A lot. This LeBron graph does nothing to discredit his game, because we all saw how good of a player he was in his prime and, frankly, still is today (on offense at least). We saw his body of work over each season despite whatever tuned up stats. 

Just like what they saw in 1987-88.