Basketball! When played well, it's the most beautifully orchestrated and artistic sport I know of, and Tony Kornheiser's article They've Got The Hang Of It (Oct. 29) underscores that point of view. If one could compare these superb athletes to artists, which, in a sense, they are, one could say Norman Rockwell was a leaper, but Leonardo and Michelangelo (Michelangelo Jordan?) had hang time.
As one of the thousands of Billy Paultz-Jim Valvano types playing ball earthbound, I enjoyed the accounts of the flights in the stratosphere. But let's not forget one other aspect of hang, Dean Meminger's immortal line (I'm quoting from Chuck Wielgus Jr. and Alexander Wolff's The In-Your-Face Basketball Book): "If you don't play ball, you can't hangout."
Tony Kornheiser's article was on target, nothing but net, and the cartoons by John Huehnergarth alone were worth the price of admission. A great way to tip off the season.
FRANCIS J. STURM
Being a dunkaholic, I was disappointed that another great moment in hang time was not included in the story. In the 1983 NCAA semifinal game between Houston and Louisville, the Cougars' Clyde (The Glide) Drexler executed a triple pump, righthand-to-lefthand-and-back-to-right-again, Drexler-you-are-cleared-for-landing, two-handed hatchet job. You yourselves called it "your basic play of the century" in the April 11, 1983 issue.
After reading Alexander Wolff's terrific piece on NBA champs repeating (Will It Be Another Banner Year?, Oct. 29), I studied the Celtic banners shown in the opening picture. One of the banners listing retired players' numbers included the name LOSCY. Does that refer to Jungle Jim Loscutoff, and, if so, why wasn't his number given?
•LOSCY stands for Jim Loscutoff. His jersey was retired after his final season (1963-64), but his number (18) remained active until it was retired in homage to Dave Cowens, who wore it from 70-71 through '79-80.—ED.
UNFAIR TO STUDENT-ATHLETES?
Double standards and hypocrisy are alive and well in our academic institutions. This is exemplified by the Mike Rozier incident (SCORECARD, Oct. 22), a clear-cut case of discrimination against college athletes.
College administrators prohibit football players from negotiating their futures while they are still eligible for competition. However, in midsemester these same administrators welcome industrial recruiters to their campuses and allow them to discuss dollars, pension plans and company cars with engineering students. Premedical students can gain acceptance to medical school up to a year before completing their undergraduate studies, thus securing their futures while simultaneously obviating the need for academic excellence during the senior year. Law students negotiate for summer jobs with prospective employers years before graduation. Later on, while still law students, they are flown to various cities throughout the country to be wined and dined at company expense. Yet students pursuing a career in professional sports, a career that will end prematurely by the standards of any other profession, are denied these same opportunities.
Where's justice? Not on campus.
BARRY J. KUTTNER, M.D., PH.D.
In your Sept. 17 issue a reader mentioned that Bloomington (Ind.) North High School's 34-game losing streak was broken in a game with Terre Haute (Ind.) North High.
Well, on Oct. 19 Terre Haute North broke another streak—a 22-game winning one—with a 28-22 win over Indianapolis Chatard.
I guess turnabout is fair play.
Teacher, Terre Haute North
Terre Haute, Ind.
NOT BIG ENOUGH
I read with delight Terry Todd's article on Lamar Gant (He Bends But He Doesn't Break, Oct. 22). The picture of "Big Bill Stiff," however, looked just a bit too svelte for a 400-pound weightlifter.
Although I no longer weigh 400 pounds, I thought you might like to see a photo of me when I really was Big Bill Stiff.
WILLIAM G. STIFF
•The man SI misidentified as Big Bill Stiff is Bud Phillips, manager of the Fitness Forum in Fort Collins, Colo. The real Bill Stiff, then and now, appears in the photographs at left and below.—ED.
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