FEUD FOR THOUGHT
I would like to compliment William Leggett on his fine article, They Want at Each Other—Bad (Feb. 25). It brought out the tremendous rivalry between the greatest pro ball club (Celtics) and its lesser adversary (Lakers). Like the Cooz said, "Just wait." Home court advantage against them or no, the Boston Celtics will still be the world champions.
New Bedford, Mass.
What has happened to the other teams in the NBA besides Boston and L.A.? Have they shriveled up and died? From your article it would appear so. Although Mr. Leggett wrote a stirring fiction story, I can hardly imagine all those things actually happening except in the movies.
For instance, taking nothing away from Jerry West, he's hardly the best defensive backcourt man in the league. Rebounding isn't all there is to defense, and West isn't the best rebounder anyway. Oscar Robertson has over 300 more, but Mr. Leggett probably doesn't even know who Robertson is, because he wasn't assigned to a Cincy game. Secondly, although Cousy is one of the best backcourt men in the league, the sad fact is that he is no longer as great as he was and it's about time someone admitted it. Of course, fact never seems to bother Mr. Leggett. There's still a chance for either of the two teams to get knocked off in the playoffs, and the "match of the century" may never come off. If so, you guys on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED are going to look pretty sick. It won't be the first time, nor the last.
De Witt, N.Y.
According to the figures put out by the NBA in 1962, West had 591 rebounds, and Oscar Robertson, the best all-round player in the NBA, had 985. Mr. Leggett should check records before delving into fantasies. Jerry West isn't enough of a basketball player to carry Robertson's traveling bag.
Mr. Leggett claims that Celtic Satch Sanders is "erratic." After 42 games this season Sanders has hit better than 45% of his shots, grabbed 305 rebounds (more than Heinsohn, who is taller) and handled 57 assists (best for Celtic forwards except Havlicek, who also plays guard). Satch also guards superstars like a tiger; ask Baylor, Arizin, Twyman, et al.
BIRT E. WAITE
I have been meaning to write you about your fine article on Associate Justice Whizzer White (A Modest All-America, Dec. 10). Many of us here at the Lovelace Foundation have known Whizzer well and read it with real pleasure and interest. We are especially interested because Whizzer's brother Sam, who is referred to in the article, has been director of research at the foundation for the last 15 years and is an international authority on effects of atomic blast.
W. RANDOLPH LOVELACE II, M.D.
FIVE AND TEN
Last year you had to retract your predictions and philosophies about Ohio State's basketball team and admit that Cincinnati was "No. 1, No. 1, No. 1." The clue to your mistake was quite simple. You were right in assuming that Ohio State's so-called "Fabulous Five" was tops on a manpower basis, but you overlooked the fact that Coach Taylor couldn't get the most out of them. Cincinnati's Ed Jucker simply outcoached Taylor, came up with a slick bunch of ball handlers and, unlike State, the Bearcats did not get rattled; in fact, their coolness and calmness were their main assets.
Another thing, you neglected to consider that the Big Ten, as a basketball league, is highly overrated. The Bucks were not used to playing top teams. This year, for instance, the Big Ten is miserably weak. Ohio State, with a most mediocre team, is vying for first solely because opposition within the league is pitifully weak. State's Gary Bradds, not a bad ballplayer, a real hustler, but most awkward and without any class, makes points because there isn't even one Terry Dischinger, one Walt Bellamy or any top player to stop him.
The Big Ten is tops on the gridiron, but its basketball leaves much to be desired.
•For SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S 1963 NCAA predictions, see page 24.—ED.
Voices of dissent such as you raise in The Egg and the Net (Feb. 18) are frequently heard these days over the policies of the United States Lawn Tennis Association, its handling of our Davis Cup team, its stand on the open tennis question, etc. And almost always the loudest cries come from non-USLTA members.
Many USLTA members would agree wholeheartedly with several of your criticisms of their organization. You could have noted in your article that although the vote at the USLTA's annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. was 44,766 against open tennis—36,481 votes were cast for it! The decisions of the USLTA have always reflected, and will always reflect, the wishes of the majority of its members.
VICTOR C. TANNEHILL
President, Northern Indiana Tennis Association
Fort Wayne, Ind.
•Except, of course, where that reflection is distorted by the wishes of local and sectional leaders who fail to canvass their membership.—ED.
My, Whitney Tower is really sold on Candy Spots and Never Bend (A Good Colt Is Hard to Find, Feb. 18)! I don't recall Mr. Tower ever having written with greater conviction. He seems to feel that those two colts, only one having won around two turns, will make a shambles of the Kentucky Derby at a mile and a quarter. (Never Bend had two races around two turns, losing one, and Candy Spots had but three starts, all sprints.) Moreover, this supposed runaway is to occur on the first Saturday in May, yet neither has begun his sophomore campaign. What your Mr. Tower says may be entirely possible, for it is not the possibility but the probability that I am refuting. Until these two "whirlwinds" can prove themselves in the pre-Derby classics, I cannot believe cither will win the Derby.
Valley Stream, N.Y.
As Olympic time draws near, my blood pressure begins to go up whenever the sports pages of our newspapers inform the sportsmen of this richest country of the world that the United States Olympic team is again having difficulty financing its participation.
Since the Federal Government cannot technically underwrite the financing of the Olympic team, why cannot all sports organizations throughout the nation, amateur and professional, set aside one-tenth of l% of the gate receipts from each sports event, said sum to be forwarded to an Olympic-Fund, administered by a group designated by the President of the United States or the Attorney General or some other person or persons respected by the sportsmen of this nation?
Every sports fan in this country would feel he personally helped in the success or failure of our Olympic team every time he purchased a ticket to see a sports event.
The Bronx, N.Y.
SMALL CRAFT WARNING
Thank you for publishing my letter in the 19TH HOLE (Feb. 25), thus giving our Bethesda Institute of Interior Decoration's fine basketball team some well-deserved publicity. I guess you New York sportswriters aren't too bad after all.
For those of your readers who follow the fortunes of our team I have some disastrous news to report. Our great 4-foot 9-inch center, Jumpjn' Jim Filvarin, has been lost for the remainder of the season. In fact, he probably won't return to school in time to resume his usual spot as our track team's No. 1 high jumper. He has been hospitalized with a severe case of overexposure.
Jim decided to participate in the hiking craze, but unfortunately he had misunderstood the requirements to be 20 miles in 50 hours. He completed the first 19 miles in six hours and 12 minutes, then noticed that he was way, way ahead of schedule. Being the grand sportsman that he is, and not wanting to cut corners in any way, he sat down at roadside for the next 43 hours, planning to then complete his hike. As you people there in New York may know, we've had a very bad winter here in Bethesda.
WILLIAM C. BUSCH