I have just finished reading the article concerning Jerry Lucas and the San Francisco Warriors (Power Came in The City, Nov. 17). He is one of the underrated players of the basketball world today, but now that he is on a decent team with some other great players, the Warriors should be able to take the Western Division with no effort. If they don't take the division, there must be something wrong.
ROGER J. TRACZYK
•Something is wrong. Lucas broke two bones in his hand last Saturday and will be out for six weeks.—ED.
I picked up my Nov. 17 copy of SI and there at the top of the cover blaring up at me was SAN FRANCISCO CHASES ITS FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP. I did a double take and then, my mind reeling, I began weighing the possibilities as to just what SI had found in San Francisco of championship caliber that lo these many years had escaped my notice. Certainly not the 49ers, those masochistically graceful losers, or the Giants, runners-up even more times than Thomas E. Dewey.
So, what did I find but an article about the basketball Warriors. The Warriors! San Francisco will become the ski capital of the U.S. before The City welcomes a championship.
JAMES H. GREENWOOD
December 1, 1969
I am writing as a representative of the thousands of utterly frustrated fans of the San Francisco 49ers, a team that has been in business for 24 years without winning so much as a single division or conference title. During that period everything about the team has changed except for two things—its losing streak and its ownership. It seems to me that since owners of professional sports franchises are exempted from the antitrust laws that apply to other businesses, those owners ought to be obligated to produce a winner for their supporters—or else! The or else being the forced sale of the franchise. The fans would thus be given renewed hope that the new owners could turn the trick. Why not attach a proviso to every franchise award that says if the owners don't produce at least a divisional title within a given number of years (24 is too many), the franchise must be sold?
Dan Jenkins wasn't just whistling Dixie when he stated that Arkansas is playing a one-game season (Arkansas Gets Set for Its One-Game Season, Nov. 17). Is there any better way to describe a schedule of nine patsies and the University of Texas? Going into the weekend of Nov. 15, Arkansas opponents had the lowest winning percentage (.208) of any of the opponents of all of the other Top Ten teams. If Arkansas had trouble beating the likes of Rice, TCU and Baylor, how would it fare against major college teams? Instead of getting ready to state that this is "the school's best team ever," Frank Broyles should just thank his lucky sooies that his team only gets tested once a year. And if the good Lord's a-willin' and the creeks don't rise, the Razorbacks may not have to make a bowl appearance this year—playing two decent teams in a row would probably be too much for them.
DAVID C. WOOD
Let me preface my remarks with the observation that, if the University of Texas were playing the University of Moscow in Red Square, I'd be there waving a hammer-and-sickle banner.
But, despite my terrific prejudice, I must ask how you can possibly overlook the great Texas quarterback, James Street, as a candidate for the Heisman Trophy (Who Gets the Oscar?, Nov. 10). Notice the word is quarterback—not runner, passer, punter or ball handler. All he's known for is leading his team to victory, but, after all, isn't that what a truly great football player does? Here is a man who, as a sophomore, watched from the bench as an inferior quarterback presided over a 6-4-0 season. Then last year, with a 1-1-1 record, Coach Royal installed Street at quarterback. There followed eight victories culminating in the Tennessee stomp (not waltz!) in the Cotton Bowl.
So far in '69 under the generalship of Street, Texas is 8-0-0, having demolished Owens and Oklahoma for the second year in a row. Gentlemen, here is the candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
DAVID W. SMITH
College Station, Texas
Charley Callahan, former Notre Dame publicity man, was mistaken when he told Dan Jenkins that Oklahoma switched its 1956 Heisman publicity support in midstream from Center Jerry Tubbs to Halfback Tommy McDonald. Our stress was on McDonald all the way, because he was a back. We pointed Tubbs toward another player-of-the-year bauble that ranked with the Heisman: the college football coaches' Walter Camp trophy sponsored by Collier's magazine. Tubbs won the Walter Camp, defeating all: the backs in the land. McDonald, hurt by Tubbs, lost the Heisman to Paul Hornung, but won the Maxwell and Sporting News awards.
It was two years earlier that Oklahoma tried to buck the Heisman odds against an interior lineman by supporting Center Kurt Burn's, who was having a fantastic season. The heroes of this effort were Dr. Raymond White and his OU secretarial science department. They wrote letters to more than 3,000 sportswriters introducing Burris. What happened? Fullback Alan Ameche of Wisconsin won. Burris was second.
University of Oklahoma
LEW'S STORY (CONT.)
In the first article by Lew Alcindor (My Story, Oct. 27 et seq.) a statement was made to the effect that The Hill School, Pottstown, Pa. had offered Alcindor admission at a full scholarship. Great athlete that he is, his memory is faulty.
As headmaster of the school at that time, I remember receiving from a mutual friend a newspaper account of Alcindor's athletic and scholastic success. Through that friend I got in touch with the boy to see if he was interested in making application. He did send for an application and a catalog, and we invited him for an interview.
Alcindor never visited The Hill. He was never admitted and he was never offered scholarship aid. He might well have qualified, and I don't doubt that our coach would have been able to find a place for him on the basketball team.
EDWARD T. HALL
St. Mark's School
I never had the opportunity to know Lew Alcindor personally, but when I read the article in your magazine concerning his four years here at UCLA, I thought I'd find out something about him and his "struggle." In my opinion, he was a fool not to know when he had a good thing. Few people on this campus, black or white, have anything good to say about him. He was conceited—which may or may not be justifiable. He was also stubborn, rude and perpetually complaining. Granted, he ran into much prejudice. But so would any man who conducted himself in such a manner, regardless of race or color.
He treated many coaches and fellow team members as though they were completely incompetent. He got away with it, admittedly. He brought in money and fans—in short he was a great basketball player. But that is no excuse for his actions.
Undoubtedly there is racial prejudice here. It is everywhere. But there are certain black Bruin athletes who regard UCLA as one of the most liberal schools, racially, in the nation. For example—one or two quarters ago the student body voted a $1 increase in the registration fee. The resulting funds—more than $30,000—will be used as scholarship money for underprivileged minority students with academic potential.
I am not against social protest. On the contrary, I feel that many attitudes in our society can and should be changed. And I admire Lew for his convictions and his willingness to speak out. But, on the other hand, I feel that some of his accusations concerning UCLA are unfounded. I say this as an involved student among many who disagree with his story but have no way of telling their own.
It is easy for me to understand why Alcindor had a difficult time at college. With his attitude, any student, especially a 7' basketball star, would have had an equally hard time.
As for prejudice on the part of the students and coaching staff at UCLA, there are plenty of good Negro colleges that would have been more than happy to have given Alcindor a full scholarship. He will receive little sympathy from me for any other of his "soul brothers" here at South Carolina State College.
I have just finished reading the three-part story by Lew Alcindor and found it to be enlightening. He is an athlete with much on the ball, not only as an athlete but as a person. I feel that Lew Alcindor will not only leave his mark upon professional basketball but that he will also leave an enduring mark upon society as one of the great mediators in the racial crisis.
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