Marion Tinsley may be the best checkers player of all time, but his achievements are nowhere near unbelievable given the nature of the sport and achievements that are similar to his. Statistically, Donald Bradman is much more of an outlier when compared to other people who have played his sport.
physical sports sometimes come with sustainable competive advantages
until he gets old, LeBron is always going exceptionally big, and athletic
in contrast, checkers exists on a much more fragile competive advantage
To understand how Bradman’s 99.94 average compares with other batsmen,
consider that a typical topflight batsman has an average in the range 45 to
55. Batsmen with averages above 55 are once-in-a-generation phenomena who
dominate the entire game. After Bradman, the second highest average in
history  belongs to South African Graeme Pollock, with 60.97, and the
third highest to West Indian George Headley, with 60.83.
> When she retired in 1981 at the age of 40, McKay had gone nearly 20 years undefeated (with the only two defeats to her name occurring at the beginning of her career).
Interestingly, both come from Australia.
I wonder how he would've fared against the present day Akhtars, Akhrams, Donalds, Steyns, Warnes or Muralitharans.
Would older greats have stood out as much faced with the technological and biological advances of the present day?
During the recent radio coverage of the current Ashes tour, between England and Australia, I heard a great quote about Sir Donald Bradman, the famous Australian cricket player. It went as follows: In the 1980s, England's fast bowler Bob Willis had the fortune to meet Sir Donald Bradman, legend of cricket. Bradman had been the dominant player from the 1930s and 1940s and the Australian had amassed stats that are unlikely ever to be bettered. Willis was keen to get The Don's view on what he might have averaged if he had played in the modern game. Bradman looked at Willis and replied that he reckoned that he would have averaged about fifty runs per game. Willis expressed surprise, having thought that the great man might have expected to have averaged more. Bradman looked Willis in the eye and then responded along the lines of "Well, I am in my seventies now!".
Don't forget, in Bradman's time, there were no covered pitches, leg side theory was legal, batmen didn't wear helmets or much in the way of protection (and bowlers weren't that much slower than they are now).
I think he would do just fine today.
Clearly opportunity, talent, and work play their parts, but there have been many people that have all three and don't turn out a Gauss, or a Newton, or a Pele.
Edit: here are the most extreme values from a run of a billion draw with the distance to the next smallest value.
PS: the bit about talent distributions being leptokurtic is pure conjecture, no idea if it is true. Seems like something Nassim Taleb would say.
You should get Malcolm Gladwell's people on the phone and set up an interview.
Nadal's stats on clay is incredible. He's lost just 11 matches and won 270 odd in the last 9 years.
I remember at the presentation ceremony the players were finding it difficult to stand due exhaustion and Nadal started his speech[Post match] with a 'Good morning' since it lasted so late into the night.
"Between us, we have 14 Grand Slams, so it should be a great game".
The guy's got a great future.
The Michael Jordan of his first 3 years in the NBA was about attacking the basket with an insanely fast first step. The Michael Jordan of his second trio of championships didn't have that level of quickness or burst anymore, but he developed a post game along with a fadeaway jump shot that was virtually impossible to guard. The man had a 20+ point per game average after returning from retirement for the second time at age 40. I don't think the average person understands how quick and athletic NBA players are. A 40 year old man being able to play that game at that high a level with a terrible team around him for 82 games a season is insane.
It is true, though, that you only really become a football legend when you win the World Cup (or show some insane talent at the World Cup). Pelé, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldo et al. all won world cups. And Pelé is considered the greatest of all time precisely because he won 3 world cups out of the 4 he participated in.
Pretty impressive kit.
The unfathomable thing is that in France, basically no one cares about his (and others) success, while everyone raves about the national men's† football team.
† women's team apparently performs significantly better on the same period but it's a blackout too. I know why I'm not into football, the whole thing is pervasively biased in so many ways...
As for Women's football, there's a reason it's not really appreciated and that is the fact that the skill level is significantly lower. Far fewer women play, which results in less competition and less highly talented individuals. Another problem is that the goals are sized for men, while the women keepers statistically speaking are smaller and can cover a smaller area, which means it's far easier to score with cheap shots. It all makes for rather dull spectating, sadly.
Canada is nuts about hockey. Americans as a whole are indifferent at best, yet we share a border. Mexicans are crazy for soccer.
If the US had the world's greatest soccer player, the majority of the country wouldn't care. Soccer is a sport that is played by about 30 million Americans a year, but it's a blip on the map at the collegiate and pro level here. People simply enjoy different sports, and the local culture reinforces it. Jim Brown was probably the greatest lacrosse player who ever lived, but his career was a footnote because the sport he played professionally was football, and he was an outlier at it.
People throw their arms up and say "How the hell can a CEO pay themselves 1000 times what the lowest paid staff gets paid"
But that CEO may be a "Messi".
Some people really are 1,000x more productive/as talented as the average person. And so should be compensated accordingly.
If the company performs incredibly well, they receive dynastic levels of wealth. If they completely fuck up... they receive dynastic levels of wealth. If they're essentially fired for cause after 5 months... they receive enough wealth to retire ($7.3m for 130 days including weekends) . If an already stunningly wealth ceo submits fraudulent expense reports trying to get in the pants of one of his employees (who doesn't seem to have been much besides eye candy), demonstrating at bare minimum incredibly poor judgement along with the possibility of sexual harassment, he's given dynastic levels of wealth ($40m) and merely made to resign.  In short, there's no performance requirement.
1. Even Leo Messi isn't "1000x more productive/as talented as the average [footballer]". Messi is a difference maker to be sure, and one might even say he counts for two or three men on the pitch, but even an extreme outlier like him only, perhaps, double or triples the statistics of another very good player. 1000x? No, simply no.
2. All of the recent studies coming out demonstrating that highly paid CEOs have no correlation with high performance, or worse either a correlation or possible contributor to poor performance, would say differently.
3. While most CEOs are certainly talented, many simply achieve their position thanks to connections and networking, and are not necessarily superhumans compared to their employees.
So no, this really says nothing about pay equality.
Gabaix and Landier  run a counterfactual (based on their model) and suggest that "if firm number 250 could, at no extra salary cost, replace for a year its CEO by the best CEO in the economy, its market capitalization would go up by only 0.016%. ... this talent difference implies that the pay of CEO number 1 exceeds that of CEO number 250 by 530%. Substantial firm size leads to the economics of superstars, translating small differences in abil- ity into very large differences in pay."
It's almost more like a guy going broke trying to invest his life savings on a stock tip than a CEO. You fail to ascend to superstardom? You end up with no money, no roots since you've moved around 30 times in five years, few employable skills outside of being physically fit, but wait... you're not physically fit because your body is broken from years of abuse.
Argentina would be doing far better with a team that play together better than with Lionel Messi at the helm, and Messi himself said so.
A really beautiful description of how Messi plays. I almost cried the first time I watched it.
On the other hand, it's a great example of why guys do flop -- refs are too bad to call things as they should.
Personally I think that if you grab another player's clothing or impede him with your arms or hands while he has possession, it should be an instant red card.
edit: Whoa, why the downvote? I'm justing pointing it out that is impossible to talk about Messi without talking about CR7 (and vice-versa).
The first, Ronaldo Nazario de Lima, started his the career known as Ronaldinho, but droped soon later to just Ronaldo. Idol of Brazil's 2002 winning. Transvestite scandals. Famous for performances with Brazil and Real Madrid. A.K.A. as "phenomenon". http://bit.ly/1pHIQH7.
The second, the well-known Ronaldinho, is most remembered for Barcelona, but also played for Milan. Not well known for it's performance with the national team, unlike the first. It still an idol across the globe even nowadays. Plays for Atletico Mineiro (my team :D :D). http://bit.ly/1mGDCmT.
The third, the portuguese one of the list, is the most recent one. Despite being Cristiano Ronaldo, we sometimes short to just Ronaldo since it's the "relevant" one today. Also known as CR7 (7 is his shirt number). Started the career in a astonishing way in Manchester United, he was a kid that got a place in a very old and experienced team. Nowadays an idol at Real Madrid. http://bit.ly/1i5uUSr.
So, funny thing ...
When I first saw "CR7" I immediately thought it was some sort of abbreviation, like I18N, and assumed it meant "CR" followed by 7 letters.
So that's apparently how my brain works.
So at one point, Ronaldo Rodrigues de Jesus was "Ronaldo", Ronaldo Nazario de Lima was "Ronaldinho", and Ronaldo de Assis Moreira was "Ronaldinho Gaucho".
Cristiano's explosion onto the scene at Manchester United was remarkable but "astonishing" is a bit of a stretch, since they've always given chances to younger players to work their way into the first team and many of them have impressed, including David Beckham (who Cristiano Ronaldo replaced), Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and more recently Adnan Januzaj.
I think you wanted this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8bZhNBQktQ
By now I've studied nearly every aspect of Messi's game, down to a touch-by-touch level: his shooting and scoring production; where he shoots from; how often he sets up his own shots; what kind of kicks he uses to make those shots; his ability to take on defenders; how accurate his passes are; the kind of passes he makes; how often he creates scoring chances; how often those chances lead to goals; even how his defensive playmaking compares to other high-volume shooters.
Yet none of that really addresses the main potential confounder the author acknowledges: most measurable aspects of a player's game --not only (assisted) goals but also even touch-by-touch, more seemingly 'individual' skill measures such as passing success-- are arguably heavily conditioned on the ability of the rest of the team. (Today, for instance, Messi didn't score against Switzerland, and the team was goalless for 117 mins until a tepid 1-0 in extra time (edit: but assisted by Messi! my apologies)... go figure).
A 'matched' design would have been much more appropriate, but I realize it's hard to do sound data analysis on a journalist's deadline.
Except that goal would not have happened were it not for Messi. A great player makes all the other players a little bit better too.
Some people also related this to the Asperger's Syndrome.
Fortunately barca was willing to pay him and take him in as well.
I take that back after seeing this data!
Of course, one reason soccer is less dataful is the amount of luck involved in the game. So much underdog achievement is happening which is probably why the game is very much liked (there was a great link that I cannot find which shows the weight of luck of per sport (soccer is being close to the top))
Last comment about the study, given time, they could have considered defense aspect
Of course, you have to be a truly exceptional player for Barcelona to build their team around you for several years, but I still doubt Messi stats would stand out quite so far above other top European forwards if he'd been, say, a winger for 2010-14 Liverpool instead.
It would be interesting to see how well the statistical advantages for Messi and Ronaldo hold up in matches which are relatively even contests (internationals, late stage Champions League and El Clasico) as opposed to their clubs' routine thrashings of weaker La Liga teams. I'd expect the goals (and shooting efficiency) to remain high but some of the other advantages might not be quite so evident. The article does cover his goals and assists contribution for his recent World Cup performances, but that's one stat and an acknowledged small sample.
Is there any way to see who is who behind those dots on charts, very interesting.
Tbh, it's great goal but hardly an outlier. There have been many as good already this World Cup. Nor is it the type of goal that you only see from Messi.
When we are talking about big downloads or video streaming makes sense, to save bandwidth (I'm not saying I agree with!!). But a blog article?
So he didn't score a goal for the first 90 minutes, or he just wasn't on the field? If he is so good, why did it take him 90 minutes to score the first goal?
Messi is a freakish talent, but how many of his exceptional maneuvers translate into goals? I don't know Messi's ratio, but would Michael Jordan's talent have meant so much if style points didn't also show up on the scoreboard? We make fun of baseball because a successful batting average is three in ten (.300) and .400 is god-like. Messi's miracles pay off, sure, but -- for the casual American fan -- the effort needs to ring the bell or it doesn't count.
Top level competition (Euro leagues) is a completely different game (and vastly superior) to what the kids play here, or even school boys and universities. It's like pro baseball vs. weekend softball. And very few moms and dads, even a full generation into 'the soccer generation' know much or care.
Americans won't go 'all in' if they can't win. Belgium: 11 million people? That's Tennessee and Alabama. The day an SEC team can go to Europe and compete, that's when the US has become a soccer power.
I love the World Cup--once every four years. Those guys are tremendous athletes with freakish skills. But I still don't care. I leave the broadcast on for background noise, like golf or NASCAR or CNN.
Please HN, correct me if I'm wrong.
Did you read the article? It answers that question about eleven different ways.