I have been a faithful reader of your magazine since 1965, but I have never written a letter to you before. However, when I saw your Nov. 26 cover photograph of President Reagan, John Thompson and Patrick Ewing, I knew that the time had come. It's absolutely spectacular.
As a charter subscriber, I believe I am qualified to say that your Nov. 26 cover is one of the greatest ever.
I'd like to add, however, that the handsome lad in the middle, the one with the winning smile, will never go far in any field of amateur sport until he learns the basics: When your picture is being taken, hold your bat, racket or basketball so that the manufacturer's name is clearly displayed.
Fort Thomas, Ky.
Why didn't you print this cover before the election?
December 10, 1984
When I see a right-winger on your cover, I expect it to be a speedy French Canadian on skates, not a newly reelected President.
Albert Lea, Minn.
JOHN THOMPSON & CO.
John Wideman's piece on John Thompson (Listen To The Drum, Nov. 26) was nothing short of courageous. Basketball, especially the college game, is a perfect mirror of the good and bad of America. As a quote, attributed to Joseph C. Pearce, on one of my calendars said, "It is possible that in changing the way we view a thing, we may actually change the thing viewed."
How nice to know, now, the real John Thompson. I hope SI will continue to publish articles by John Wideman.
Incidentally, I am a University of Pennsylvania graduate and saw Wideman play. He was marvelous.
JOHN B. HANNUM JR.
Concerning John Thompson and the negative press he has received, I think it is clear that a double standard exists in the U.S. media. America will accept with open arms a black sports hero who does his job and keeps his mouth shut. When men like Thompson, Carl Lewis, Jim Brown or Reggie Jackson state their opinions, they are labeled outspoken or controversial.
The bottom line is that Thompson is an intelligent, articulate, successful coach. Instead of criticizing Thompson, we should criticize all of the coaches who cannot match his graduation rate (44 of the 46 who have played four years for Thompson at Georgetown "left school with their degrees").
Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Thank you for Bill Brubaker's article Dear Chris (Nov. 26). As manager of my high school's basketball team, I have been assisting my coach in forwarding recruiting material to the players and sending out information about our players to various colleges, which made reading Brubaker's piece that much more enjoyable. I well remember the college scouts who attended our basketball games last season in hopes of snaring our All-City point guard, Terry Coffey, who was eventually signed by the University of Connecticut. So much of that article reminded me of what lies ahead, for better or worse, in the basketball careers of our players.
Thank you also for your college basketball issue, although I do wish Dixon (111.) High's best-known player had stuck to basketball rather than politics.
Head Basketball Manager
Maret High School
After reading Bill Brubaker's article on three highly recruited basketball players, I was dismayed to find that the coaches mentioned in the article would go to such undignified and condescending lengths to sign a 17-year-old kid. After being told daily that he is God's gift to basketball, how can a 17-year-old keep things in perspective?
As a parent of one of the players mentioned in the article, I would like the readers to know that coaches Jim Valvano and Tom Abatemarco are two of the most honest and conscientious coaches I've ever met. They are not just interested in winning but are concerned about the future and welfare of each player. The personal criticism of them was unfair.
ST. JOHN'S MULLIN
Curry Kirkpatrick's Just A Guy From Da Naybuhhood (Nov. 26) was a fine and almost accurate portrayal of Chris Mullin the basketball player and Chris Mullin the person, except that I feel Kirkpatrick exaggerated the Brooklynese in Chris's speech.
As a student, I worked in the athletic office at St. John's and later was a press assistant for the Madison Square Garden college basketball department for three years, so I've had an opportunity to know Chris on a personal basis as well as sit in on his Garden press conferences. He has always spoken in clear, concise English and hardly ever let his natural New York accent destroy the correct pronunciation of a word. Chris is an intelligent young man. Just because someone is from Brooklyn, Manhattan or Queens doesn't automatically make him a member of the Bowery Boys.
Director of Security and Services
As a New Yawkuh at Duke in da Sout and a big St. John's fan, I found da ahticle on Chris Mullin a little distractin'. C'mon whadda ya tink dis iz? America has a multitood of diffrent waze uh tawkin'. Don't pick on us New Yawkuhs.
EDMOND D. FARRELL
Thank you for the excellent article on Chris Mullin. I just wish that his contribution to the community had been mentioned. He served as honorary coach of the Queens Special Olympics and showed the same patience and class in dealing with handicapped athletes as he shows on the basketball court.
Special Olympics Volunteer
BISHOP AND FAUST
After I read Frank Deford's article on Eddie Bishop (A Twilight's Last Gleaming, Nov. 19), I flipped to 19TH HOLE and the readers' responses to your earlier article on Gerry Faust (Somebody Up There May Be Listening, Nov. 5). After reading about Bishop, who was loved regardless of his record as a coach, the attacks on Faust seemed callous, stupid and selfish; such attacks are the product of fragile egos trying to force their own narrow and even inhuman goals on the athletes and coaches of "their" teams. The Faust hate mail left no doubt about how something like Bishop's death could happen.
I was glad to see the real fans praising Faust's beliefs, commitment and philosophy; perhaps more such praise for Bishop could have made a difference. Thanks to SI for trying tactfully and sensitively in both of these articles to uphold the human values in sport, which are greater than the numerical results of any single game, season or career.
Each time I read an article by Frank De-ford I say to myself, "He'll never be able to top this one." But then I read his next one—this time his story of Eddie Bishop—and I can only say, "Doggone, he did it again."
SPORTSMAN NOMINATIONS (CONT.)
I nominate Penn State football coach Joe Paterno as Sportsman of the Year. Who else but a true sportsman would:
1) take his team to Tuscaloosa and save coach Ray Perkins's job;
2) take his team to South Bend and save coach Gerry Faust's job; and
3) complete the hat trick at home in the season's final game by saving coach Foge Fazio's job?
Paterno is a true sportsman.
Doug Flutie—because the Heisman Trophy isn't enough.
Berkeley Heights, N.J.
REVITALIZING THE NFL (CONT.)
The most upsetting aspect of pro football (Dr. Z's Rx To Revive The NFL, Nov. 12) is that so many non-athletes determine the outcome of games. All those foreign-born kickers playing our American sport! If an animal could be trained to place-kick, it would be used in the NFL. Not one of those guys can run, pass, tackle, catch, block or even punt. Abolish soccer-style kickers, and. let the sissies go back to their soccer fields.
ROGER H. SMALL
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't President John F. Kennedy on the cover in 1960? If so, Ronald Reagan wouldn't be the only President ever so featured (LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER, Nov. 26).
Mount Laurel, N.J.
•JFK was President-elect when he appeared with wife Jacqueline on the cover of our Dec. 26, 1960 issue (above left).—ED.
How many Presidents of the United States—either in office or before or after serving in office—have been on the cover of your magazine?
•Three. In addition to President Reagan and President-elect Kennedy, Gerald Ford appeared as Vice-President on our July 8, 1974 cover (above right).—ED.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.