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Best Player

Quincy Johnson (Jerry Trainor) is a barely employed adult gamer who lives at home with his parents. Quincy plays video games under the username "Q" and is renowned in the gaming community for his many awards and world records. Much to Quincy's dismay, his parents decide to sell their house, meaning Quincy will need to find a new place of residence. Quincy decides to try to buy the house from them for $175,000. He plans on getting the money from a tournament for a new video game called "Black Hole", where the grand prize is $175,000. He discusses the dilemma with his number one fan, Wendell (Amir Talai). While practicing for the tournament, Quincy finds a player named "Prodigy" whom he cannot defeat. Quincy and Wendell decide to find out who Prodigy really is to secure Quincy's chance of winning the tournament, also because Quincy needs a place to stay. Wendell picks Quincy up and finds out that Prodigy lives nearby. They seek a plan to beat Prodigy while together.

Best Player

In international football, Best was capped 37 times for Northern Ireland between 1964 and 1977. A combination of the team's performance and his lack of fitness in 1982 meant that he never played in the finals of a major tournament. He considered his international career as being "recreational football", with the expectations placed on a smaller nation in Northern Ireland being much less than with his club. He is regarded as one of the greatest players never to have played at a World Cup. The Irish Football Association described him as the "greatest player to ever pull on the green shirt of Northern Ireland".[4]

At the age of 15 Best was discovered in Belfast by Manchester United scout Bob Bishop, whose telegram to United manager Matt Busby read: "I think I've found you a genius."[15][16] His local club Glentoran had previously rejected him for being "too small and light".[17] Best was subsequently given a trial and signed up by United's chief scout Joe Armstrong. His first time moving to the club, Best quickly became homesick and stayed for only two days before going back home to Northern Ireland.[18] He returned to Manchester and spent two years as an amateur, as English clubs were not allowed to take Northern Irish players on as apprentices. He was given a job as an errand boy on the Manchester Ship Canal, allowing him to train with the club twice a week.[19]

Best played for three clubs in the United States: Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and later San Jose Earthquakes; he also played for the Detroit Express on a European tour. Best was a success on the field, scoring 15 goals in 24 games in his first season with the Aztecs and named as the NASL's best midfielder in his second.[71] He and manager Ken Adam opened "Bestie's Beach Club" (now called "The Underground" after the London subway system) in Hermosa Beach, California in the 1970s, and continued to operate it until the 1990s.

He returned to the US to play for the San Jose Earthquakes in what was officially described as a "loan", though he only managed a handful of appearances for Hibs in the First Division in the following season.[73] He returned one last time to Easter Road in 1984, for Jackie McNamara's testimonial match against Newcastle United.[72] In his third season in the States, Best scored once in 12 appearances. His moves to Fort Lauderdale and San Jose were also unhappy, as his off-field demons began to take control of his life again. After failing to agree terms with Bolton Wanderers in 1981, he was invited as a guest player and played three matches for two Hong Kong First Division teams (Sea Bee and Rangers) in 1982. At HK Rangers he played alongside his former Northern Ireland teammate Derek Spence. While in Hong Kong, Best also played darts for a team called Presstuds, made up of a combination of professional footballers and sports journalists.[75]

Best was considered briefly by manager Billy Bingham for the 1982 World Cup, but at the age of 35, with his football skills dulled by age and drink (and five years having passed since his last cap), he was not selected for the Northern Ireland squad.[82] A proponent of a United Ireland football team, in 2005 Best stated: "I've always thought that at any given time both the Republic and Northern Ireland have had some great world-class players. I still hope that in my lifetime it happens."[85]

He opened a nightclub called Slack Alice on Bootle Street in Manchester in 1973 and owned restaurants in the city including Oscars, on the site of the old Waldorf Hotel.[94][95] He also owned fashion boutiques, in partnership with Manchester City player Mike Summerbee. Best's cousin Gary Reid, a member of the Ulster Defence Association, was killed in 1974 during an episode of serious rioting in east Belfast.[96]

In 2007, GQ magazine named him as one of the 50 most stylish men of the past 50 years.[109] When Best played football, salaries were a fraction of what top players earn today, but, with his pop star image and celebrity status, Best still earned a fortune. He lost almost all of it. When asked what happened to the money he had earned, Best quipped: "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds (women) and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."[110]

We considered all matches played by professional tennis players between 1968 and2010, and, on the basis of this data set, constructed a directed and weighted network of contacts. The resulting graph showed complex features, typical of many real networked systems studied in literature. We developed a diffusion algorithm and applied it to the tennis contact network in order to rank professional players. Jimmy Connors was identified as the best player in the history of tennis according to our ranking procedure. We performed a complete analysis by determining the best players on specific playing surfaces as well as the best ones in each of the years covered by the data set. The results of our technique were compared to those of two other well established methods. In general, we observed that our ranking method performed better: it had a higher predictive power and did not require the arbitrary introduction of external criteria for the correct assessment of the quality of players. The present work provides novel evidence of the utility of tools and methods of network theory in real applications.

Data were collected from the web site of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP, We automatically downloaded all matches played by professional tennis players from January 1968 to October 2010. We restrict our analysis only to matches played in Grand Slams and ATP World Tour tournaments for a total of 3640 tournaments and 133261 matches. For illustrative purposes, in the top plot of the panel a of Figure 1, we report the number of tournaments played in each of the years covered by our data set. With the exception of the period between 1968 and 1970, when ATP was still in its infancy, about 75 tournaments were played each year. Two periods of larger popularity were registered around years 1980 and 1992 when more than 90 tournaments per year were played. The total number of different players present in our data set is 3700, and in the bottom plot of panel a of Figure 1 we show how many players played at least one match in each of the years covered by our analysis. In this case, the function is less regular. On average, 400 different players played in each of the years between 1968 and 1996. Large fluctuations are anyway visible and a very high peak in 1980, when more than 500 players participated in ATP tournaments, is also present. Between 1996 and 2000, the number of players decreased from 400 to 300 in an almost linear fashion. After that, the number of participants in ATP tournaments started to be more constant with small fluctuations around an average of about 300 players.

In panel a, we report the total number of tournaments (top panel) and players (bottom panel) as a function of time. In panel b, we plot the fraction of players having played (black circles), won (red squares) and lost (blue diamonds) a certain number of matches. The black dashed line corresponds to the best power-law fit with exponent consistent with the value .

In panel a, we draw the subgraph of the contact network restricted only to those players who have been number one in the ATP ranking. Intensities and widths are proportional to the logarithm of the weight carried by each directed edge. In panel b, we report a schematic view of the matches played during a single tournament, while in panel c we draw the network derived from it.

In the simplest case in which the graph is obtained by aggregating matches of a single tournament only, we can analytically determine the solutions of Eqs. (1). In a single tournament, matches are hierarchically organized in a binary rooted tree and the topology of the resulting contact network is very simple [see Figure 2, panels b and c]. Indicate with the number of matches that the winner of the tournament should play (and win). The total number of players present at the beginning of the tournament is . The prestige score is simply a function of , the number of matches won by a player, and can be denoted by . We can rewrite Eqs. (1) as(2)where and . The score is given by the sum of two terms: stands for the equal contribution shared by all players independently of the number of victories; represents the score accrued for the number of matches won. The former system of equations has a recursive solution given by(3)which is still dependent on a constant that can be determined by implementing the normalization condition(4)

In Figure 3, we plot Eqs. (6) and (7) for various values of . In general, sufficiently low values of allow to assign to the winner of the tournament a score which is about two order of magnitude larger than the one given to players loosing at the first round. The score of the winner is an exponential function of , the length of the tournament. Grand Slams have for instance length and their relative importance is therefore two or four times larger than the one of other ATP tournaments, typically having lengths or . 041b061a72


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