Thank you for the recent articles about Hank Gathers (Death on the Court, March 12, A Team on a Mission, March 26), Now we will never get to see No. 44 play with the Barkleys and the Jordans. I hope everyone realizes what we have lost.
TED J. GROSS
Though I've been a lifelong sports fanatic, in recent years there has been much to make me ask myself why I continue to care. Too often my heroes have been shown up as grasping and greedy, believing only in the creed of me, first and last. Then, a few weeks ago, I found myself swept along on an emotional roller coaster that has left me saddened but also strangely exhilarated. I speak, of course, of the ordeal of the Loyola Maryount Lions following the death of their teammate Hank Gathers. On the heels of such a tragedy we might have expected to see in the Lions anger and bitterness, recrimination and isolation. Instead, what we saw was love, loyalty, determination, unselfishness and teamwork—in other words, a deeply moving demonstration of the highest ideals of sport.
Beech Grove, Ind.
CHAVEZ VS. TAYLOR
In this day of mismatched, underconditioned fighters, Julio Cèsar Chàvez and Meldrick Taylor put on a stirring performance (The Brink, March 26). While it's too bad someone has to lose a fight like this, I have to commend Richard Steele for stopping it. Taylor had had enough, and Chàvez had a lot more to give.
Angelo Dundee said a cornerman must inspire his fighter, give him positive input. He must never use negative words such as "tired" or "beaten," even when referring to his fighter's opponent. And he should never deviate from a successful strategy. Just before the 12th round of the Chàvez vs. Taylor fight in Las Vegas, comanager Lou Duva told Meldrick Taylor that the fight was "hanging on this round." Since Taylor was apparently winning the fight handily, inciting panic was the wrong strategy to use on a fighter who was obviously worn down. So instead of boxing a safe, victory-assuring round, Taylor chose to go toe-to-toe with the 68-0 Chàvez. The result was not surprising. Richard Steele did the correct thing; it was Duva and Taylor who made a mistake.
Sherman Oaks, Calif.
April 22, 1990
Thank you, William F. Reed, for saying precisely what I've been thinking as I've listened, season after season, to the see-no-evil commentary of Messrs. Packer, Waters, Hall, McGuire, Vitale, et al. (Point After, March 26). To a man, these party-line promoters have steadfastly refused to acknowledge the moral and ethical morass that threatens to consume big-time college basketball.
William Reed may be appalled by commentators who excuse or have compassion for coaches involved in scandals, but I would rather hear the opinions of an analyst who has actually coached and is fully aware of the pressures of the job.
DAVID REID DILLON
South Point, Ohio
CRADLE OF NBA COACHES
In a recent issue of the Sioux Signal, a newsletter put out by the University of North Dakota Letterwinners' Club and its Boosters' Association, I noticed an interesting picture that was taken on campus in 1966. What do you suppose are the chances of three guys at the same school at the same time—two were basketball coaches, one was a player—ending up 23 years later as head coaches in the NBA?
Yuba City, Calif.
•Slim to none, we would have said before seeing this photo. From left: Jerry Schultz, who is now an insurance and investment manager and girls' high school basketball coach in Wheaton, Minn.; Bill Fitch of the Nets; Phil Jackson of the Bulls; and Jim Rodgers of the Celtics.—ED.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.