Your April 17 article on the Nets (Making a Point—Playground Style) was beautiful. In that one article you gave the Nets more space than they have gotten in the three New York newspapers in the last five years. It was a good story, but Peter Carry failed to speak enough about the job Ollie Taylor and Billy Paultz did on Kentucky's Artis Gilmore. He also omitted the fact that the 6'2" Taylor dunked one over the 7'2" Gilmore.
Thank you for recognizing and rewarding a fine young gentleman. John Roche convinced all of us in South Carolina years ago that he was to be a great one when he led the Gamecocks to three very successful, nationally ranked seasons. Because of John Roche and many of his contemporaries, Southern basketball at the prep and high school level has been on the rise. In years past the only boys who played basketball were the same boys who played football. Now there has been a movement to year-round basketball, and the caliber of the game has certainly improved. John Roche had quite an influence on many youngsters in our area, and we thank him.
A fine article on the brilliant young New York Nets. But even though John Roche was the star of the series, Trooper Washington was the inspiration. Through the six games he held Dan Issel, a 30.6-point-per-game scorer, to an average of 22.
Glen Cove, N.Y.
Two years ago Utah had the good fortune of having ABA basketball come to our state. During the first year the Utah Stars finished second in the Western Division. In the playoffs that year Utah walked over the Dallas Chaparrals, and beat the overpublicized Indiana Pacers, winning the seventh game in Indiana. The Stars then went on to beat the Kentucky Colonels for the ABA championship.
Once again this year the Stars' play has been fabulous. They won first place in the Western Division, then smeared the third-place Chaparrals in four straight. The Stars are now tied with Indiana for the chance to play for the 1972 ABA championship. It is about time the Utah Stars got some sizable recognition.
Salt Lake City
Congratulations on the fine article by Elliott Burch (Diary of a Derby Horse, April 17). You probably could not have chosen a better horseman, nor one with more journalistic acumen, to give your readers some insight into the hard work, hopes and frustrations of trainers everywhere. Now, if it just turns up muddy in Louisville....
WILLIAM J. KAUP
Big Deal! So Riva Ridge can't run in the mud (Now His Name Is Mud, April 10). No Le Hace won the Louisiana Derby on a sloppy track after nearly being knocked down at the starting gate. After that performance he came to Oaklawn Park and beat Spanish Riddle and Hassi's Image, the latter a better horse than most Triple Crown contenders. And yet in a four-page article you mentioned the Arkansas Derby and its $100,000 purse only once. The winner of the Arkansas and Louisiana Derbies will get his true recognition on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, come rain or shine (it makes no difference).
Little Rock, Ark.
The SCORECARD item "Sneak Punch" of the April 10 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED manages to convey in one sentence two major misstatements of significance about New York's water pollution program. You charge that Mrs. Donna Mitchell was acting on my behalf lobbying in Washington against strengthening amendments to the pending federal water quality bills and you describe New York as "a state with an abysmal record in pollution abatement."
In fact, New York State has done more to fight water pollution than any other state or the Federal Government. In the last five years we have committed over $3 billion to build 348 projects to abate public water pollution. Last year alone we imposed over $1 million in penalties on industrial polluters.
The most eloquent testimony to New York's leadership is the fact that the Federal Government owes the taxpayers of New York $1.3 billion because we have had to prefinance its promised share of sewage treatment projects. That in fact was what Mrs. Mitchell was working for—to see that, in addition to lofty goals, there was sufficient money in the bill to pay the Federal Government's past debts and allow it to be a full partner in the future.
Few other states have been willing to go ahead and not only pay their share but also carry most of the federal load as well. Thus, the description of New York's record as "abysmal" is a particularly gratuitous and patently erroneous insult to the people of this state, who have been willing to shoulder a heavy burden to achieve a quality environment while many others only talk.
HENRY L. DIAMOND
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
•SI did not charge Mrs. Mitchell with lobbying "against strengthening amendments" to the House water bill, but since the commissioner raises that point, we note here that she did her utmost to keep it in its present form. She told Representative John Dow of New York, "Don't offer any amendments. Don't change one word. We want that bill exactly as written." Commissioner Diamond's assertions about New York's role in fighting water pollution are self-serving. For example, the state's $1 billion Pure Waters Bond Issue passed in 1965 has achieved nowhere near the success promised by Governor Rockefeller, who pledged that the waters of the state would be clean by 1972 regardless of what funding came from the Federal Government.—ED.
As a resident of New York I am upset to learn that a representative of the state's conservation commission was instrumental in the passing of an obviously inferior water-pollution control bill. One has only to look at the lower Hudson River to realize that more stringent regulations backed up by the threat of heavy fines and possible court action should be the order of the day. The very thought of abolishing existing laws seems to be a strange way of attacking the problem. Hopefully, more legislators of Representative John Dingell's persuasion will prevail.
I just couldn't resist writing a fan letter to Melvin Maddocks for his article on Hazel Wightman (The Original Little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes, April 10). Everything he said about Mrs. Wightman is true. All three of my children have gone "plop-a-BOOM" in her garage, and my youngest was also the bedazzled recipient of a sawed-off tennis racket. While none of them may ever become a Rod Laver or Billie Jean King, Mrs. Wightman has created a spark of incentive in them to make something of their lives. Those of us who have met her have been truly blessed.
MRS. DONALD P. HOOVER
Your tennis coverage gets better and better! I was fortunate enough to be one of those hopefuls who benefited from Hazel Wightman's instruction in and enthusiasm for tennis in the Boston area in the 1920s. I shall never forget those Saturday mornings at the Longwood Cricket Club courts. How she managed to teach so many of us so much about court manners and tennis etiquette, as well as how to hit the ball and play in a tournament, is difficult to comprehend. About 10 years ago I took my then-14-year-old son to one of her garage sessions—a revelation for him and for me! She was, and still is, fabulous! A hard taskmaster for sure, but a most gracious lady.
One important aspect not touched on by your article was an ideology "Mrs. Wightie" always pounded home to us "little" people of the tennis world: "If you ever get something from tennis, give it back somehow by teaching, by playing, by enthusiasm, by monetary contributions and by helping lesser players than yourself."
Los Gatos, Calif.
In reference to Melvin Maddocks' article about Hazel Wightman, please be advised that Mary Ewing Outerbridge did not come from Long Island. She came from Staten Island. Be kind enough to let Staten Island have some claim to fame other than the Verrazano Bridge.
DEAN P. WING
Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.
Regarding your otherwise great story about Bruce Kison (End of Innocence, April 10), why must Pat Jordan be so ignorant about wild and wonderful West Virginia? In the lone passing reference to Kison's Triple A experience, he makes a mistake for which tears are being shed: he says that Bruce won 10 games in 12 starts for the "Charlestown Charleys."
In the first place, Charles Town is a fine little community located in the upper regions of West Virginia close to Washington. But the Charlies, a name derived from the owner, Charles Levine, a gentleman in his 80s for whom this Pittsburgh farm club was purchased by his loving son Bob, are located in the capital city of West Virginia, Charleston. Charleston possesses one of the finest minor league fields in the nation in Watt Powell Park, a fact verified by many baseball executives and players.
We have much to be proud of in West Virginia in spite of the often embarrassing stories that appear in the news media. We are especially proud of our mountain scenery and greenery and of our wonderful capital city. With this goes pride in the Charleston Charlies and Bruce Kison.
Incidentally, are you aware that Rennie Stennett, who helped lead the Pirates' drive to the world championship, also was called up from Charleston? Please let the world know via your wide circulation that there is a ball club known as the Charleston Charlies, and it is located in one of the nicest areas in the world!
Station Manager and Sports Director
Charleston, W. Va.
ALI IN TOKYO
Your article on the Ali-Foster fight (Not Only Foster Got Stung, April 10) was an injustice to a fine man and boxer. Ali has proven himself a capable man in the ring in all of his fights, even against the pretended champion, Frazier. Ali has not dodged anyone, as Frazier has, and yet Frazier gets all the glory while Ali gets all the criticism! When Ali knocks a man out, it is said that the fight should never have come about, and when Ali fails to knock the man out, then the writers say that he has gotten old and rusty. No matter what Ali does, he just can't seem to satisfy you sportswriters.
Ali has brought back the interest in boxing that had died with the retirement of Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano. Ali is the greatest and he always will be!
LAWRENCE B. SHELTON
I am sure the Japanese will not be hampered by one ho-hum fight. Mere exposure to Ali is worth a $10 ticket. My only doubts lie with SI. Will you guys ever forgive him for losing the big one? What does everyone want, a five-round dance and then a corpse?
Address editorial mail to TIME & LIFE Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.