Heroes of the Hardcourt

Ranking Pro Basketball's 100 Greatest Players, and introducing a whole new way of looking at the game

by Keith R. Thompson



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 12/7/2005

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 312
ISBN : 9781425903992
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 312
ISBN : 9781425904005

About the Book

In 2006 the NBA will celebrate its 60th anniversary as a competitive league. Upon its establishment in 1946 the NBA – via its forerunner the Basketball Association of America – became the 21st professional basketball league to be formed in the U.S., and the one that would outlast all the others. In addition, since 1896 when professional basketball began in Trenton, New Jersey thousands of players have competed in a pro game, and generated countless hours of debate as to who the best players are in the history of the sport. In fact, precisely 3572 players and 439 All-stars have graced the courts of the NBA and the iconoclastic American Basketball Association when it was in operation between 1967 and 1976, many with spectacular – and sometimes incredible – performances. And until now there has never been a truly scientific method of evaluating their performances on a basketball court, and determining who the all-time best is. Finally, after 109 years, such a measure has been created.


This book, Heroes of the Hardcourt: Ranking Pro Basketball’s 100 Greatest Players ranks the 100 greatest players to play professional basketball since 1946 by utilizing a scientific methodology, the Performance Efficiency Rating (PER) System, developed by the author who is a former economics professor. This is the most comprehensive measure ever devised to accurately measure basketball performance and answer the question of who is the greatest basketball player ever. The PER methodology has also proven remarkably accurate in determining the true MVP winner in the NBA for the past ten years, correctly predicting the eventual winner the majority of the time.


Heroes of the Hardcourt, in addition to profiling the top 100 players – counting down from number 100 all the way to number one – also provides an historical summary of the one hundred-plus years of professional basketball in the U.S., and concludes with an analysis of the 1984 draft in which four of the best players to ever compete were drafted. It concludes that not only did the Portland Trailblazers make a poor decision in selecting Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan, but so did the Houston Rockets who also drafted Hakeem Olajuwon over MJ. A knowledge of the PER methodology, the author asserts, would have created a better draft selection then, as it clearly does now. Heroes of the Hardcourt will finally lay to rest all the debates as to who the best players are in the history of professional basketball, and who is the all-time best.


About the Author

Keith Thompson is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, and possesses graduate degrees in both Economics and Business Strategy. His professional experiences include over five years as a Researcher and Business Analyst, and nearly a decade as a College Professor teaching Economics and Business courses to undergraduates at Mercy College and Bronx Community College, both in New York. His life-long research interests include accurately measuring performance, and after creating the Performance Efficiency Rating (PER) sports methodology in 1996 to better measure athletic performance, and consult on player draft and free-agency acquisition strategies – he established PER Sports, Inc. He is currently President of this sports analytics-consulting firm


Keith Thompson has also written numerous freelance articles in various economic and business newspapers, as well as a number of unpublished articles on social, financial, educational, and sporting concerns. In addition, he has developed an extensive methodology covering two other major American professional sports (both based on the PER system), thus underlining his comprehensive understanding of the sporting environment. Books based on those sports are expected to be published next year in the form of Diamond Defenders: Ranking the Major League’s 100 greatest baseball players of all-time, and Gridiron Gladiators: Ranking the 100 greatest football players of all-time. Finally, drawing upon his strong economic and business background, and coupling that with his extensive knowledge of sports he expects to complete a book in early 2007 entitled Play Ball: The Business and Economics of Sports in America today, to analyze the current business environment of professional sports.