Wilt Chamberlain is right about being un-worried about his place in history books because he is a legend in his own time (My Impact Will Be Everlasting, Oct. 7). Without a doubt he is the greatest man ever to play the game.
Mr. Chamberlain is indeed one of the greatest ever to play basketball. It is sad to say, however, that Wilt cannot let his actions speak for themselves. He states that Bill Russell has a "thing" about Wilt the Great. But it's Wilt who forever brings up the specter of Russell, who retired at the end of a successful season, and did so with the style he displayed on and off the court. Wilt retires bemoaning everything and everyone who, he believes, tried to do him in at every turn. It can be honestly said that the exits of these two great stars from basketball symbolized their careers. Bill Russell left as a winner in all respects; Wilt Chamberlain departed as a poor loser.
EDWARD J. FENNELL
Was happy to read that Wilt is in such great physical shape. I thought he might have developed severe muscle strain of the arm and shoulder from patting his own back.
Sorry, Wilt, Bill Russell was quite a few championships better.
B. R. THORNTON
Auburn Heights, Mich.
October 20, 1974
Just think of the state of our country if all our loaders in Washington, D.C. sat down with a writer for a national publication and reflected on their careers without trying to "cover up" their actions.
Keep it up Wilt! Your being honest with your life makes it easier to read the morning paper.
FRANK A. KAUFMAN
As one who has followed Wilt's basketball career since he was a sophomore in high school, 1 feel that he is quite modest in his appraisal of his own abilities. As he admits, his opinions are not humble, but I can think of no other sport where one individual has established as many records. He has always borne the rap of a loser, but how many NBA championships did Jerry West or Elgin Baylor win at Los Angeles before Wilt arrived?
DAVID W. BONNER
I'd like to know what Wilt Chamberlain gets out of cutting up the greatest guard to ever play the game of basketball, Jerry West. West is the third-leading scorer of all time, fifth in assists and made the All-Star team 10 times.
West's career was continuously hampered by injuries, but when things got rough he didn't switch teams and cry that he never got a night. Doesn't Chamberlain think that the people who paid his outrageous salary know who deserves it and who doesn't?
CHARLES D. LAMBERT
I'm writing to inform you of Wilt's most recent record-setting performance. In his 10-column, 4,256-word essay on how great he was, is and ever will be, Wilt manages to utilize the personal pronouns I, me or my no less than a whopping 349 times for a stupendous, record-breaking average of one personal ego-satisfying pronoun for every 12.2 words uttered!
Through the years I've believed that although Chamberlain had done much growing upward, he's done very little growing up. His comments, alternating between self-praise and laments, sustain that belief.
Wilt mentions several times that he never had a "night." So, in recognition of his perseverance in overcoming the career-long unfairness of Mendy Rudolph I'd like to give him one at this time:
Good night, Wilt.
Upon his departure from the game, Wilt Chamberlain once again looks back over his shoulder with some parting shots, many of which are aimed at Bill Russell. One would think that Wilt would have learned long ago that looking behind him is the wrong place to look for his old nemesis. Bill Russell is miles out in front—as usual.
Virginia Beach, Va.
Now I know why Wilt Chamberlain is 7 feet tall and weighs 300 pounds. He needs all that space to contain his super ego.
VINCENT N. GALLAGHER
DON'T LOOK, MA
I myself liked the picture of the nude in the article on Evel Knievel ('We Shoulda Run One More Test,' Sept. 16). But I didn't let my mother see the magazine.
San Rafael, Calif.
In your Oct. 7 issue (Tilling to the West) you stated that the Yankees must have been in cahoots with an Almighty Power to have gone as far as they did in the recent pennant race. At least they did it playing good hard baseball (one of the best ERAs, three .300-hitters, solid performances from veterans and some holes plugged by recent acquisitions). The Orioles, on the other hand, won 26 of their last 32 games with 17th-inning run-scoring bloopers, batters walked home and opponents that seemed to roll over and play dead. If the Orioles don't vote a playoff share to the Lord, they at least ought to give one to Ralph Honk and the Tigers.
The World Hockey Association should be commended for its challenge to the Russian national team (Jolting the Reds and the NHL, Sept. 30). The WHA not only took it upon itself to engage in a series the National Hockey League was obviously afraid to play, but in doing so won the admiration of countless hockey fans for attempting to resume the thrilling affair of 1972. The team's early respectable showing was a pleasant surprise to many (including myself) and will long be remembered as a giant step forward in the establishment of the WHA.
It is a shame Mr. Campbell and his league insist upon depriving hockey of a true Team Canada.
New Britain, Conn.
Any North American hockey fan who thinks he has been victimized by poor refereeing can certainly breathe easier now. After witnessing The Great Russian Ripoff, alternatively titled the Team Canada-Soviet Hockey Series, I am convinced that there are no decent officials anywhere in the Soviet Union. For missing repeated flagrant acts committed by Soviet players, I propose that the referees be immediately banished to Siberia. I suggest the same for the Soviet coach, Boris Kulagin, for having the audacity to suggest that the Canadian players participating in the scuffle after the sixth game be sentenced to 15-day prison terms.
Thank you and Giles Tippette for the article (Of Noble Rites) in your Oct. 7 issue. Articles on the bulls, especially one as well written as this one, are too few and far between. When such pieces are written, they are usually rife with inaccuracies and totally misleading. With the exception of some minor technical inaccuracies, Mr. Tippette's article is very well done.
HARRY A. CONNER, President
National Association of Taurine Clubs
El Cajon, Calif.
I have seen both toreros mentioned in the article fight, and I have seen the beauty they and others can create on the sand. I have also seen days like the one described in Of Noble Rites. Like other sports, bullfighting has its good and bad days; both can be rewarding, though, if honesty prevails.
Although it is a bit early, I would like to nominate the obvious choice for your Sportsman of the Year award—Henry Aaron.
Live Oak, Fla.
In a year full of prima-donna professionals and greedy commercialism let me be the first to nominate the finest and purest athlete of 1974 as your Sportsman of the Year, West Coast runner Jim Dunn. And for best supporting star, who else but his mother?
Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert have virtually done it all in a year of exceptional tennis competition and well-deserved recognition of the woman athlete.
A. F. GARVEY
Tony Waldrop should be a strong candidate. Who else has run nine consecutive sub-four-minute miles?
Bernie Parent and the Flyers proved that Philadelphia isn't a team of losers after all.
C. J. PIERMAN
New York City
WFL Commissioner Gary Davidson.
Upper Marlboro, Md.
Not only did Lou Brock break Maury Wills' record of 104 stolen bases, he also broke the famed SI cover jinx.
DAVID L. SHERWOOD
Kyle Rote Jr. has distinguished himself as one of the finest athletes of our time.
GLENN VAN HEEMST
Prospect Park, N.J.
Don't let me down and be logical this time, pick Jack Nicklaus.
In 1971 Herve Filion was the first harness driver ever to achieve the supposedly unattainable goal of 500 wins in one year. He ended up with 543, but he wasn't named Sportsman of the Year. In 1972 he broke all of his previous records with 605 victories and more than $2 million in earnings. Still no award. In 1973 he won 445 races, more than 100 ahead of any other driver, and again copped over $2 million in purses. This year he is once more surpassing his own records. His accomplishments in harness racing are unmatched and may never be approached again.
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