The histrionic whining and intentional provocation that Detroit's Bill Laimbeer practices (Vintage Whine, Nov. 5) is exactly the style of play that the majority of NBA coaches try to discourage. Unfortunately, too many young players now believe that acting like Laimbeer is not only acceptable but also desirable. Stories such as yours only contribute to the problem.
What makes Laimbeer so obnoxious is perfectly portrayed on your cover. He weeps, he moans, he prances around. You nailed him perfectly.
HARVEY J. OSBORN
Other teams in the NBA would jump at a chance to get Laimbeer from the Pistons if they could. He can score, rebound, pass, set picks, take a charge, play defense and unnerve opposing players, fans and the referees. Add his leadership qualities and his presence in the lineup for every game, and Laimbeer sounds like a complete player to me.
Birch Run, Mich.
THE PISTONS PALACE
As a season-ticket holder, I would like to comment on Jack McCallum's story about the Detroit Pistons (Palace Coup, Nov. 5).
First, although I always stay until the end of the game, many fans leave early to beat the traffic, as McCallum noted. I blame this largely on The Palace's management. It can take half an hour to get out of the parking lot. Second, I find the scoreboard dot race to be an offensive use of video technology. I wear my coat over my head and plug my ears to avoid this insult to my intelligence. I also resent the commercials that are shown. I don't mind commercials when watching games for free at home on TV, but I do mind when I have forked over the price of a ticket.
However, there is no denying that the Pistons are a top-notch team. The management knows basketball. Hey, even the seats in The Palace are comfortable.
It was a fluke, not an error, but Ron Fimrite's article about boneheaded errors made in front of large crowds (Nowhere to Hide, Oct. 15) didn't mention Steve Smith of the Edmonton Oilers. In the seventh game of the 1986 Stanley Cup playoffs, he made the most bizarre play I have ever seen. One of his passes was deflected off the back of goaltender Grant Fuhr's leg and went into the Oilers' net to score, giving the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win and eliminating the defending champion Oilers. With 15 minutes left in the game, Smith had nowhere to hide....
One of my favorite boneheaded errors occurred on Nov. 19, 1978, when the New York Giants were leading the Philadelphia Eagles 17-12 with less than a minute remaining in the game. All Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik had to do was drop down on one knee and New York would have won the game. Instead, offensive coordinator Bob Gibson called for a hand-off to fullback Larry Csonka. Pisarcik failed to get a firm grip on the snap, and the ball glanced off Csonka's hip. Herman Edwards, an Eagle cornerback, picked up the ball and ran 26 yards for a touchdown. Philadelphia won 19-17.
RICHARD M. GIBSON
HIRED TO BE FIRED
I feel as though Up Against the Wall (Oct. 29) were written for me. After 22 years of coaching high school basketball in Kentucky, I was fired from that job last spring by the Monroe County Board of Education. There is no way to describe the hurt. It seemed as if everything that I had worked for my entire life was destroyed. It is the worst feeling that I have ever encountered.
E.M. Swift's excellent article about the firings of coaches, managers, etc., comes at a time when Mike Lude, athletic director at the University of Washington, is being forced to retire after 15 years in the position and about a year from the school's mandatory retirement age of 70.
Lude has done an outstanding job for the Huskies: He leaves behind an expanded stadium seating 72,500, well-funded women's athletics, a new indoor tennis center, a new women's basketball locker room and adequate financial resources derived primarily from a highly successful football program.
No one really knows why he was dismissed. Perhaps it was because university officials didn't like Lude's outspoken manner.
Steve Rushin's YESTERDAY (Oct. 22) about how, 27 years ago, after a brief stint in the major leagues, Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda pursued a career as an NBA referee, reminded me of another California baseball personality, former Angel third base coach Lawrence (Moose) Stubing. Stubing works in the off-season as a college basketball official. He has an impressive paunch, but that does not keep him from racing nimbly up and down the court.
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