Congratulations to William Nack for an excellent article on the NBA's best point guard, Isiah Thomas ("I Have Got To Do Right", Jan. 19). I have been a Thomas fan from the beginning, not only because of his great athletic ability but also because of his talent for just being a person, an average guy. What a pleasure it was to find that Nack had focused his article more on Thomas the person than on Thomas the basketball player.
As for Thomas gearing down his game, forget it, because he is right—it would be boring. I hope that one day he will lead the Detroit Pistons to an NBA title. He deserves it.
When I was a very young boy my dad took me to see the then Fort Wayne Pistons in Fort Wayne's old North Side High School gym. I saw George Mikan and his Lakers, and they seemed like gods. I was there the night the George Yardley-led Pistons opened at the Olympia Stadium in Detroit. But for this pro basketball fan there never has been a time like the present. Isiah is just the best.
DENNIS M. FALLON
KNOCKING THE NORRIS
E.M. Swift was right, he shouldn't have said it (How They Bore Us In The Norris, Jan. 19). Granted, the teams in the Norris Division are mediocre, but mediocrity does not necessarily breed boredom. For one, Norris Division fans are among the most rabid in the NHL. For another, some of the league's hottest rivalries are in the Norris: St. Louis versus Chicago, Toronto versus Detroit and Chicago versus Minnesota. Also, to list the lazy players in the division was ridiculous. Every division has its share of loafers. Swift failed to mention Norris soldiers such as Craig Hartsburg, Doug Gilmour, Troy Murray, Wendel Clark and both Sutters (Brian and Darryl).
February 16, 1987
E.M. Swift hit on my sentiments exactly. Anyone who wastes time following the NHL, especially the Norris Division, probably never saw the game back in the six-team era.
The hiring of football coach Bill Curry by University of Alabama president Joab L. Thomas was a stroke of genius (POINT AFTER, Jan. 19). It is unfortunate that most of the opposition to Curry's hiring has come from a minuscule group of "fans" who have no ties to the university. Not everyone who says "Roll Tide" is up in arms.
A great majority of Alabama alumni and fans are at least willing to give Curry a chance. Curry himself was the first to admit that he must earn his way into the Alabama "family." As far as I'm concerned, he became a part of the family when he accepted Dr. Thomas's invitation.
THOMAS C. FORD
'Bama has always been one of the classiest and cleanest (never on probation) programs around. Tide alumni Marty Lyons (Jets) and Dwight Stephenson (Dolphins) have each been honored as NFL Man of the Year (in 1984 and '85, respectively) for his contributions to society. If 'Bama is a football factory, the quality of the product has been excellent. Thanks to Dr. Thomas for his vision, and welcome, Coach Curry.
A DAUGHTER SPEAKS
I would like to clarify a point concerning Chuck Bednarik's famous tackle of Frank Gifford cited in the article on the history of the Giants (Up, Down And Up Again, Jan. 26). As my father recalled to me and numerous others about his controversial hit, he was unaware of Gifford's prostrate body as he "gestured triumphantly." Rather, he was celebrating the Eagles' fumble recovery that clinched the victory and propelled them toward the 1960 NFL championship. In fact, after the game my father expressed his concern by sending a fruit basket to Gifford's hospital room. And to this day there are no hard feelings between them.
•Apparently not. Gifford (at right in the photo, congratulating Bednarik on his induction into the National Football Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1969) says of the famous hit, "There was nothing dirty about it. It was a good hit. Bednarik is a good friend of mine. I've made speeches in his honor, and I play golf with him." Gifford wanted to clear up another point. "Contrary to SI's story, I did not retire after the 1960 season," he says. "I played three more years after that. I was out for one year, then I was on the cover of SI [Dec. 17, 1962] and was named Comeback Player of the Year in 1962."—ED.
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