19TH HOLE: The readers take over

December 22, 1958

BASKETBALL ISSUE: OPPORTUNISTS
Sirs:
We are taking this opportunity to heartily congratulate you for the truly outstanding basketball edition of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SI, Dec. 8), in which you covered the college game so well and so completely.
W. R. SCHROEDER
Helms Athletic Foundation
Los Angeles

Sirs:
Basketball! Bah!
GEORGE TAYLOR
Washington, D.C.

BASKETBALL ISSUE: A GAME FOR THE BIRDS?
Sirs:
Shirley Povich's article, Basketball Is for the Birds, was very much out of place.

It's amazing how basketball baiters so loosely charge any tall hoopster with being a goon. If Mr. Povich ever elects to attend a game, he will quickly realize that today's Bill Russells, Bob Pettits, Kenny Sears, etc. are universally admired for their gracefulness, rather than known for the awkwardness that was associated with their predecessors of 15 to 20 years ago. Furthermore, not every fellow who plays basketball today is a giant, as evidenced by the game's No. 1 star Bob Cousy (6 feet 1), Slater Martin (5 feet 10), Larry Costello and many, many others.

Among his countless charges, Mr. Povich makes two unfair attacks against the rules and referees in particular. First, he says the officials blow their whistles too often and, secondly, they are actors. He attends games so rarely that he fails to realize that by the very nature of the uniform basketball is not supposed to be indoor football.

Mr. Povich expresses a desire to have the game revert to the day where "a game could be comfortably won by a team total of 26 points." How ridiculous can an "expert" become? In the days when a team won with 26 points, the losers usually got 19. This would give a total of 45 points for the game. Let's analyze this. Of these 45 points, it is safe to assume that 13 of the points came from the foul line, thus leaving 32 points, or 16 baskets, between the two teams. Since today's hoopsters cage about one-third of their shots, the players would attempt around 50 shots from the floor. Can anyone imagine an audience today sitting in on a contest where the likes of an Oscar Robertson or Bailey Howell would not take more than 50 shots in the course of 40 minutes of playing time?
WILLIAM G. MOKRAY
The Boston Celtics
Boston

Sirs:
Shirley Povich is so right! And I admire his guts for really speaking his mind.

There must be millions in this land of ours that would love to see some real basketball once again.
M. M. BARRY
Uniontown, Pa.

Sirs:
Shirley Povich's Basketball Is for the Birds is for the birds.
THOMAS H. PEEBLES
Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Sirs:
His humour is that of an elderly elephant.
ROBERT J. DWYER
Milwaukee

Sirs:
I'm with Povich. He gets my vote as humanitarian of the year.
GRANVILLE F. KIBBEE
Gardena, Calif.

Sirs:
If Mr. Povich thinks basketball is for the birds, then so is he.
SANDY BABCOCK
Meadville, Pa.

Sirs:
If you hear a loud voice from the land of Bierkäse and bleu cheese don't be disturbed; it will be the writer uttering a few lusty "huzzas" for Shirley Povich.

Like Mr. Povich, I have reached the point of extreme nausea at the spectacle of a whistle-happy referee risking a coronary in his attempt to make a sporting spectacle out of the antics of a group of people who would look far more at home in a circus sideshow. I am tired of boxcar scores. I am beginning to suspect that the men who write and administer the rules for today's basketball are suffering from some psychological disturbance which makes physical contact with an opponent distasteful.

Someplace along the way the rules committee must have picked up a handbook by one of the early—very early—bloomer girl squads. How else could we have reached the present deplorable situation?
W. E. DENT
Racine, Wis.

Sirs:
Mr. Povich states, in Basketball Is for the Birds, that the second shot is awarded only if the first is missed. The direct opposite of this is correct, and he need only consult the current basketball rules to verify this. He may find it in Rule 10, Section 7: Penalty.

Mr. Povich's misunderstanding of this basic rule further indicates to me why he has ceased to be a basketball fan. He belongs to that vast group which includes all fans, most players and a few coaches who do not know the rules of basketball.
TERENCE A. KILKENNY
Brooklyn, N.Y.

BASKETBALL ISSUE: DREAM TEAM
Sirs:
I would like to express my congratulations to you and Artist Russell Hoban for his magnificent portraits and radiant narrations of The Dream Team. This artistic essay seems to fuse all players' talents, and then extract five gods of the cage kingdom.
FRANKLIN L. BROSGOL
Philadelphia

Sirs:
I like Artist Russell Hoban's paintings and descriptions of the players on The Dream Team. I agree with him as far as he goes, but he left out two very important men.

One of these two men is the coach. The coach should be a middle-aged man about 5 feet 11 tall and weighing a respectable 200 pounds. He should have a very wise look about him.

The other man to make this dream team the perfect team should be able to play either guard or forward. He should be 6 feet 5 inches tall and weigh 220 pounds. He would be capable of replacing any man on the team. His abilities would include the rare trait of stealing the ball like a magician as well as scoring from anywhere on the court. His presence would allow the team to break fast, press full court, have a double pivot or increase the height of the team. The only reason that he is not one of the starters is that the rules allow only five men on the floor.
W. JACK ALSTON
Concord, N.C.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)