Letters

October 16, 1994

I eagerly await your 50th-anniversary issue, which, I trust, will include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.
HUGH M. RODGERS, EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.

Top 40
Your list of the 40 individuals who have most influenced sports during the past four decades (Forty for the Ages, Sept. 19) was sure to be controversial. No doubt it was a daunting task to compress 40 years into such a small list, and I commend SI for the effort. Here's to 40 more years!
JIM JIVIDEN, Ada, Ohio

What? Don King but no Willie Mays? By what standard? I guess this really is the age of the antihero.
STEVE SILVERMAN, New York City

How can you select five NBA players and not select Wilt? He revolutionized the game and rewrote the record books.
JOHN A. BUYARSKI, Medford, N.J.

To bemoan the exclusion of Mays, Mantle and Chamberlain and not that of Roger Bannister, Jean-Claude Killy and Juan Manuel Fangio is to dismiss the opinion of the world's sports audience.
TOM WELLS, Orinda, Calif.

Curt Flood, by paving the way for free agency, affected the sports world more than any other individual.
JOHN E. DUCKWORTH, Dittmer, Mo.

How about Walter O'Malley? By moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, he engineered the end to an age of innocence in sports, ushering in an era of unparalleled cynicism and skepticism.
RICHARD G. KENT, Bridgeport, Conn.

If one person did more to change the image of pro football than John Unitas, please let me know. He took a dull Sunday-afternoon game and transformed it into America's biggest spectator sport.
GEORGE L. RALPH JR., Salisbury, Md.

Why is O.J. Simpson not on the list?
LIZ BROWN, Frederick, Md.

What about Vince Lombardi? His five NFL titles in seven years, including three in a row, is unmatched.
G. STEVEN LARSON, Madison, Wis.

Wayne Gretzky at No. 12 I can live with, but naming Bobby Orr No. 31 while omitting Gordie Howe is an injustice to Howe's 30-plus years of great hockey.
BILLY RYAN, Chicago

Although Jim Fixx wrote two informative books on running, Frank Shorter was the person most responsible for the running boom in the U.S. His gold medal performance in the 1972 Olympic marathon inspired countless Americans to take up long-distance running.
PAUL W. BISHOP, San Diego

How could you exclude Dick Fosbury? If anyone has changed his sport, Fosbury has. After he won the 1968 Olympics, the Fosbury Flop quickly became the dominant style of high jumping.
MATTHEW MEYERS, New York City

Certainly somewhere on the list there should have been room for Chris Evert, whose year-in, year-out consistency brought her at least one Grand Slam singles title for 13 consecutive years. At the very least Evert should have been co-listed with Martina Navratilova, a la Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
MICHAEL A. DUNN, Park City, Utah

Russell over Chamberlain? Clemente over Mays and Mantle? I guess I can live with those. But I would like to speak for all sports fans: The inventor of the remote control has altered the way we watch sports more than the creator of ESPN. Couch potatoes all over the world will agree with that.
IAN PAUL, Hershey, Pa.

PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR.John Unitas PHOTOJOHN BRENNEISWillie Mays PHOTONEIL LEIFERFrank Shorter PHOTONEIL LEIFERVince Lombardi PHOTORICHARD MACKSONKareem Abdul-Jabbar PHOTOAPWalter O'Malley PHOTOTONY TRIOLOChris Evert PHOTOHY PESKINMickey Mantle PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR.Wilt Chamberlain PHOTOJAMES DRAKEGordie Howe

Letters to Sports ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should he addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center. New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.

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