Former NBA Scorekeeper Admits to Juicing Stars' Stats in the '90s, Says League Is an 'Entertainment Business'

An ex-Philadelphia Sixers executive explains why he was encouraged to inflate stats.

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A former NBA scorekeeper has admitted to juicing stats in the 1990s.

Alex Rucker, an ex-76ers executive who served as a scorekeeper for the Vancouver Grizzlies in the '90s, shed light on the latter job during an appearance on ESPN personality Pablo Torre's show Pablo Torre Finds Out.

"My job is to create the most accurate historical record of what occurred in the game, and I learned very quickly that, that was not the prevailing viewpoint," Rucker explained. "Went to the training in Detroit, part of this training, is they would show us video clips. They show us [John] Stockton to [Karl] Malone clips."

Former Grizzlies scorekeeper turned Sixers exec Alex Rucker ADMITS to juicing NBA stats in the 90's — and says that the practice was "reinforced internally within the Grizzlies." 😳

"There's a discussion, 'That wasn't an assist, that was a pass.' ... And the majority opinion by…

— Pablo Torre Finds Out (@pablofindsout) February 27, 2024
Twitter: @pablofindsout

Rucker continued by using John Stockton as an example, revealing that in some instances he'd incorrectly credit the Utah Jazz point guard with an assist.

"There's a discussion, 'That wasn't an assist, that was a pass and then Malone dribbled a couple times, pump fake, pump fake, and then made a tough shot.' That's great," Rucker explained. "There's no cause or connection between the pass and the basket and the majority opinion by a mile was, 'Oh no, that's definitely an assist.' I said, 'What?' [I was told] 'That's John Stockton.'"

Despite his admission, Rucker maintains that the scorekeepers were trained to boost the stats of star players, as the NBA is first and foremost an entertainment business.

"I left there clearly understanding that yes, we are supposed to create the most accurate representation we can, but the NBA is also an entertainment business," Rucker stated. "And it's up to us, in very small part as statisticians, to support or reinforce stars, and excitement and fun. And that message was definitely reinforced internally within the Grizzlies."

Watch Rucker's full interview with Torre below.

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