If the Detroit Pistons (Moaning and Winning in Motown, Feb. 28) are typical of players in the NBA, the sport is in sad shape. You quote Marvin Barnes as saying, "I got to get my 30. My fans be demanding it." I think most fans come to see the game played by professionals, not a one-man talking machine trying to score 30 points a game. The picture of Kevin Porter sulking on the bench told the whole story. Even if the Pistons are in second place in their division and have the seventh best record in the NBA, they have to rank last in class.
The Pistons really are a delight on the court. However, the way certain players complain is ridiculous. The team's goal is to win, and Coach Herb Brown is accomplishing this. After observing pitiful performances by other Detroit teams this past year, I'd say a winning team is more than welcome here.
Traverse City, Mich.
Unbelievable! Detroit General Manager Oscar Feldman says, "Most of the players have no-cut multi-year contracts. Why they can't be happy in winning whether they make a contribution or not is beyond me."
Every player who has the good fortune of reaching the NBA has paid a price to get there. These players have made sacrifices that others with similar talents have not made. If it is Feldman's belief that recognition and the exercising of the skills that these players have perfected are not important to them, he should be running a kindergarten tiddly-winks tournament, not a professional basketball team. Come on, Oscar. Professional athletes are competitors, not contented bench-warmers, regardless of their income.
MICHAEL F. MANORE
Fort Wayne, Ind.
March 14, 1977
With four excellent guards (Eric Money, Kevin Porter, Chris Ford and Ralph Simpson) what else can Herb Brown do? He can't play them all at the same time.
If the Pistons would stop fighting and start playing together, they would have a good chance of taking a championship.
ON THE OREGON TRAIL
UCLA's trip to the Willamette Valley was certainly a tough one (On the Trip to the Pit the Bruins Got Bit Feb. 28), but it was not their toughest of the year. The Bruins were not awesome in Washington a week before the Oregon excursion. Up in Pullman on Thursday night they fought for their lives before pulling out a 65-62 win over Washington State, a much harder contest than their 89-76 romp over Oregon State. Then they came here to Seattle on Saturday. Feb. 12 and the Washington Huskies dealt them a 78-73 defeat.
If you think Washington rarely defeats UCLA, recall 1975, in Hec Edmundson Pavilion, when John Wooden suffered his last loss as a Bruin coach. The score? An amazing 103-81.
How could you forget so soon? Larry Keith states, "No one can recall when UCLA last scored only 18 points in a 20-minute period. Or when the Bruins so completely lost control of a game."
One need only go back to last year's game at Pauley Pavilion between these two teams, the one that ended the Bruins' 98-game home winning streak. The Ducks held UCLA to 14 points in the first half. Furthermore, the final score of 65-45 shows that the Bruins never had control.
As for Oregon's star forward, Greg Ballard, ask Marques Johnson and Richard Washington who was the best big man in the West last year.
DOUGLAS B. SCHNTDER
It might be of interest to your readers to learn that Greg Ballard is the alltime leading scorer among forwards in Pacific Eight Conference history and the only Oregon player to exceed 1,000 in both points (1,758) and rebounds (1,090).
Also, the UCLA game was the 68th consecutive sellout of "the Pit."
I was shocked that Larry Keith called John Wooden's UCLA teams arrogant. The greatest coach in collegiate history proved that discipline and pride are what make a team great. Describing these qualities as arrogance is definitely a poor choice of words. There is only one word to explain UCLA's attitude and accomplishments: class.
As a 1971 VMI graduate. I can remember all too well the disastrous 1970-71 Keydet basketball season. Unfortunately, because of a current Army assignment to Germany, I have been unable to share in the glory of the 1975-76 and 1976-77 Keydets. Your article on VMI (Winning Is the Order of the Day, Feb. 14) let me know that all is well in Lexington, Va. Thanks for a tremendous morale-booster.
JAMES C. CAUL
The SI jinx lives on. VMI got recognition in a national poll, won 21 straight games, was featured in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED—and then lost twice in three days! Please, pick on the guys who have dominated the polls for years and leave us deserving newcomers alone, at least until the end of the season.
David Thompson is certainly an extraordinary athlete (SCORECARD, Feb. 21), but his record triple jump as a North Carolina State freshman was not his first attempt at that event. Performing as a senior at Crest High School in Shelby, N.C. in the spring of 1971, Thompson set a Western North Carolina High School Athletic Association record in the triple jump with a leap of 45'5¾". This record was erased three years later by sophomore Pete Hardin of Salisbury, who jumped 46' even.
As one who ran behind Duncan Macdonald at Stanford for four years, I was pleased to see your article about an athlete with a most unusual outlook on life (Dormant No More, Duncan Is Erupting, Feb. 14). I was a little disappointed that Kenny Moore did not relate Duncan's most distinguishing character trait—his extraordinary, if somewhat offbeat, sense of humor. Then I looked at the photographs accompanying the article. That is definitely Duncan carefully examining a 72-pound elephant heart.
I was pleased to read your article on Lee Kemp of the University of Wisconsin (The Suppression of His Aggression, Feb. 21). Wisconsin has been struggling to be recognized as one of the best and, finally, with the likes of Kemp it has happened.
CHRISTOPHER S. STEIN
Corpus Christi, Texas
I found the article off base on several counts. How would Lee Kemp's supposed lack of aggression explain the fact that he has now pinned 18 opponents this year, some of them in the first period? Additionally, in the East-West All-Star Classic in Corvallis, Ore., Kemp annihilated his Western opponent, Kevin Kramer, by a score of 8-2. At the time Kramer, the top-ranked wrestler west of the Mississippi, had a 20-2 record.
I found particularly offensive the comment, "Seeing one of his matches is often about as thrilling as watching paint dry." The finesse and skill with which Kemp wrestles are apparent in every one of his matches, whatever the score.
IN SUPPORT OF KIHEI
With the exception of one horrible statement, Richard W. Johnston's article Maui Is in the Chips (Jan. 24) was well written and covered many interesting aspects of this beautiful, complicated island. In the penultimate paragraph, Johnston says, "Except for...a fine French restaurant, one should go quickly through Kihei, the tacky eight-mile resort strip above Wailea that has the gall to include itself in 'the Maui Gold Coast.' "
It is impossible for any of us here to understand how Johnston could have missed seeing Kihei's mile after mile of beautiful, un-crowded white-sand beaches—all of them open to the public—with the safest swimming in the Islands. He also missed four beautiful beachside parks with tables, benches, lawns, trees, showers, camping areas, pavilions for family parties and community meetings and courts for basketball and tennis, not to mention many well-designed, beautifully landscaped condominiums. There are some 9,000 residents and several thousand visitors who consider themselves the luckiest people in the world to be able to be in Kihei. Are they all out of step, Mr. Johnston?
WILLIAM E. MASCHAL
Kihei Community Association
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