Grantland’s Robert Mays has a cool story up today on how one man with an obsessive love of NBA box scores allowed the invaluable basketball database basketball-reference.com to put every box score in NBA history on its website:
Last week, Justin Kubatko made an announcement that, on the first reading, didn’t make much sense. Kubatko, of Basketball-Reference.com, wrote that the site now had the box scores for every game in NBA history — from Wilt’s 100-point game, to when Havlicek stole the ball, to everything in between. Visitors to the site could search for every game from 1946-47 to the present day through its database.
The question that beckoned was: “How?”
“A few years ago, someone had pointed us in the direction of this guy named Dick Pfander, who lives in Michigan,” Kubatko said. “They said, ‘You’ve got to get in touch with him. He’s undertaking a personal project going through old microfilm and making scans of every box score in NBA history.’ Of course, we were intrigued by that.”
Dick Pfander is a 77-year-old Department of Defense retiree who splits his time between Michigan and a doublewide near Winter Haven, Florida. He started collecting box scores while in grammar school in the late 1940s, he says.
For the rest of the story on Pfander’s fascinating life-long obsession with recording NBA box scores, click through and read the full story — I’ll be on basketball-reference and seeing if Russell really did force Wilt to struggle every time their teams went head-to head.