I've been a Bill Walton fan for about seven years. I have a collection of books, magazine and newspaper articles, videotapes and other things about him—more than 1,000 items, a 60-page list—but I have never read a better article on Walton than John Papanek's Climbing to the Top Again (Oct. 15). Thanks.
You reminded me that Walton of UCLA at 20 years of age was sophomoric.
What's your infatuation with Bill Walton? He hasn't played basketball for a year and a half, yet he's on your cover! Lenny Wilkens has coached the Sonics for the last two years and has been in the finals both years. He should be on the cover.
With all due respect to Bill Walton, I thoroughly enjoyed John Papanek's coverage of an even greater phenomenon—the Grateful Dead.
MICHAEL J. MASSA
Glen Head, N.Y.
October 29, 1979
GREAT WHITE HOPE?
I'm not in the habit of writing letters to the editor, but reasonable and sensitive people need to speak up. The expression "Great White Hope" stems from the era of Jack Johnson. Lately I have seen it repeatedly in print, and most often it is used by sportswriters—constantly, boringly, extraneously. And there it is in paragraph six of your article on Larry Bird and Earvin (Magic) Johnson (Two for the Show, Oct. 15).
I live in the area of the country that calls the SuperSonics the home team. The population of the Seattle area is more than 92% Caucasian. I believe the Sonics have three or four white players on their 11-man roster. That's regional imbalance, or some such garbage. What's more important is that we love our team, revere our NBA championship and respect the players, who are men first and basketball players second. As for color, who cares? Honestly, one doesn't hear it mentioned. So who's perpetuating racism, the writers or the fans?
JAN ARTHUR ROTH
RUSSELL AND DRYDEN
There is a noteworthy coincidence in your Oct. 8 issue. In his BOOKTALK on Bill Russell's autobiography Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man. Jonathan Yardley quotes Russell. "Every so often a Celtic game would heat up so that it became more than a physical or even mental game, and would be magical. That feeling is difficult to describe, and I certainly never talked about it while I was playing. When it happened I could feel my play rise to a new level. It came rarely, and would last anywhere from five minutes to a whole quarter or more. Three or four plays were not enough to get it going. It would surround not only me and the other Celtics but also the players on the other team, and even the referees."
A bit further on in the same issue Ken Dry-den (A Game In Search of Some Contests), writing of his Montreal Canadiens, says, "We are a team that has 'those nights,' those nights when the game finds a level you didn't know existed. Those magic nights when everything you do and everything the guy next to you does...when everything the team does, works. On those nights, we know we are part of something special."
When one stops to think about it. Dryden and Russell share more than just this extraordinary experience. Both are sensitive, thinking men. Both were key figures on unselfish teams that totally dominated their sport. Both retired before they actually "had to," choosing to go out on top. And both have witnessed the deterioration of their respective sports. Neither professional basketball nor professional hockey can currently be called the epitome of a crisp, clean team game.
Basketball has badly missed Russell and everything he represented: hockey will feel the loss of Dryden. It remains to be seen whether adequate replacements can be found.
SEAN PETER KIRST
Awww c'mon, Paul Zimmerman, the Giants won, big deal (Awww C'mon, Ray, the Giants Won! Give Us a Smile, Oct. 15). SI's first article on the Giants in I don't know how long and you let the most inept, egotistical management in sports off the hook. The Maras—Wellington and Tim—have blatantly abused football's most loyal fans for too long. At least your article focused on the problem: the owners are in the catbird seat.
ERIC B. LUND
Big deal! Ray Perkins got the Giants a win that seemed long overdue. Everybody gets a break once. The real question is: Can Perkins lead the Giants to a winning season and possibly a wild-card playoff spot? Only time will tell, but Maras beware. We Giant fans haven't discarded our 15 YEARS OF LOUSY FOOTBALL; WE'VE HAD ENOUGH T shirts.
New York City
Go Big Blue! Please tell Paul Zimmerman that his article on the New York Giants was as accurate as a Joe Danelo extra point (whenever he gets the opportunity to kick one). As for the Giants and their fans, we shall overcome.
STEPHEN J. MACHOWSKI
A&M VS. MIAMI
I've just finished reading Tom Archdeacon's article about a fine football team, Florida A&M, and a fine football coach, Rudy Hubbard. Being black and a resident of Florida, I am proud of FAMU's achievements, but I have some problems with the Rattlers' victory over the University of Miami. One problem is that I am a former Miami football captain (1973) who supports the Hurricane program and works toward making it a better one. A second problem is that I think many people have already blown this particular Rattler victory out of proportion.
At this point, Miami has a poor football team. We are young and inexperienced, although Coach Howard Schnellenberger gives the program stability. This current crop of Hurricanes has not yet learned how to win games, whereas FAMU is a defending national champion.
FAMU, in fact, did beat a Division IA team, a task comparable to Lehigh beating Penn State or Chico State beating USC. The difference is that Miami is now a school with the posture of a loser trying to rebuild. Florida A&M is capable of beating other Division IA schools, but the Rattlers are not ready for the big time. They beat Miami by three points (because Miami missed a 20-yard field goal) and outgained the Hurricanes by only 16 yards.
When this season is reviewed we will see that a great Division IAA school beat a Division IA school that will finish with a 3-8 or 4-7 record.
Congratulations, FAMU, but calm down.
Regarding Douglas S. Looney's account of the LSU-USC football game (Nearly a Vale of Tears, Oct. 8), it is apparent that LSU's fans are very loyal to their team. However, when Looney states, "Nowhere are the rooters as loyal in defeat," I must point out the University of Wisconsin fans.
Since 1970, despite an overall 42-51-5 record. Badger football fans have averaged 69,004 per game—among the highest in the nation. And this year, despite a 2-4 start, they are averaging more than 74,000 per game.
It's easy to be loyal during the good times, but Badger fans have shown their worth by backing their team win or lose, and that's what it's all about.
I don't question the loyalty or spirit of the LSU fans, but a better case can be made for the long-suffering Tennessee Volunteer partisans. Over the past two years. Vol fans have suffered through a lowly 9-12-1 record, but home attendance has averaged 83,534 in a stadium that seats 80,250. Keep that Volunteer loyalty in mind as you watch the bowl-bound Vols reassert themselves this year.
ROBERT P. CURRENCE
•See page 55.—ED.
Kenny Moore is a superb writer! As I read and re-read Hawaii Five Double 0 (Oct. 8), I again completely relived the race: the anticipation at the start, the long hot runs, the fun and fellowship of being with a wonderful group of runners, the humor of Leon Henderson and the antics of Harvey Shultz and the very deep feelings of sadness when it was really "all over." I am looking forward to the next long, great run somewhere in the world, staying in shape and standing by. And just to keep the honeymoons going, I'm getting married again, in Las Vegas next month!
Pan Am Captain, Retired
Walterboro, S. C.
Rudy Dressendorfer, varsity baseball player, class of '60, C. K. McClatchy High School, Sacramento, where are you? Thanks to Kenny Moore, now we know. We also know about some dumb race that only affluent Americans with nothing better to do can enter for fun and frolic. Loved the article, but then, I love trivia!
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