Two stories in three weeks by Frank De-ford, on Nolan Richardson (Got To Do Some Coachin', March 7) and on Larry Bird (A Player for the Ages, March 21), and Gary Smith's piece on Mike Tyson (Tyson the Timid, Tyson the Terrible, March 21)—wow! Don't tell me high levels of journalism are not found in sports coverage. Deford had me crying for Richardson and understanding Bird. Smith's account of Tyson is chilling.
What would life be like without insights such as those given us by Frank Deford on Larry Bird and by Gary Smith on Mike Tyson? Bird and Tyson have done so much in such unimaginable circumstances, and their stories provide pure inspiration. I have never known Tyson's fear or Bird's poverty, nor am I sure I would like to, but thank heaven for writers who can convey with such powerful emotion the personal victories and accomplishments of these men. Athletes? Surely. Great men? I think so!
CURTIS C. SMITH
Salt Lake City
What I like about Bird is not so much his basketball ability as his work ethic. Many U.S. corporations spend millions of dollars to find ways to motivate their employees, and some look to the Japanese for guidance. Heck, all anyone has to do is watch a Celtics game and Larry Bird. If you can't get motivated then, call a mortician, because you've died and nobody noticed.
Deford's A Player for the Ages should be mandatory reading in our secondary schools. Larry Bird is a modern-day hero worth reading about.
MARY ELLEN KINZLER
Hobe Sound, Fla.
April 17, 1988
Larry Bird is not the greatest player of all time; Magic Johnson is. Bird is Rick Barry without the ego. Magic is a synthesis of all the positions. He is Cousy, Havlicek, Russell and McHale in one. Years from now people will say, "Sure, Bird was great, but he was no Magic."
SCOTT W. CAMP IV
I have thoroughly enjoyed following Mike Tyson's career. Not until now have I read such a deep examination of this fighter's mind, of what drives him. Tyson appears to be fighting the hatred that exists in our world each time he steps into the ring. One can only feel sorry for his opponents. As for Gary Smith, thumbs up for an excellent article.
In my opinion Mike Tyson is the greatest fighter ever to step into the ring. I can see where the fear of his inner beast probably makes him unbeatable. I also see his anger at the world. What would happen if he lost? I would not want to be in his corner on that fateful day.
I was so taken by Frank Deford's Got To Do Some Coachin' that I have been teaching the play to my freshman English classes at Channelview (Texas) High School. The students have enjoyed it more than I thought possible. Today's youth is constantly in search of a role model, and Deford's story of the trials and tribulations, tears and triumphs of Nolan Richardson has provided a positive one. My deepest gratitude to Deford for awakening us to the fact that you don't have to be the toughest, the quickest or the tallest to work through the challenges of life. Richardson has come to exemplify all that is heroic.
JOEL N. ROSEN
Frank Deford states that Larry Bird spends the off-season "in the house Larry had built with the regulation basketball court and the satellite dish." I have heard that Bird's court is an indoor one. I can see the satellite dish in your photo on page 54, but I remain unconvinced that Bird's house is large enough to contain a regulation indoor court. Is what I've heard correct?
•The court is outdoors (below).—ED.
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