Feb. 08, 1999
Feb. 08, 1999

Table of Contents
Feb. 8, 1999

Faces In The Crowd
NBA Preview 1998-99


1998 was the greatest year in sports ever? I must have missed it.
--JACK COHAN, Cleveland

This is an article from the Feb. 8, 1999 issue Original Layout


A glaring omission on your best-sports-year list (The Best Years
of Our Lives, Dec. 28-Jan. 4) was 1984. Patrick Ewing leads
Georgetown to the NCAA title over Houston, the Detroit Tigers
start the season 35-5 and win the World Series over the San
Diego Padres, Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics beat Magic
Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers, Mary Lou Retton triumphs at
the Olympics, the Edmonton Oilers begin their dynasty by ending
the Islanders' string of titles, Eric Dickerson gains an
NFL-record 2,105 yards for the L.A. Rams, and Dan Marino of the
Miami Dolphins throws for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, both
GEORGE SIPPLE, New Boston, Mich.

How could you leave out 1986? The Golden Bear's remarkable back
nine to win the Masters. The Shoe's ride aboard Ferdinand in the
Kentucky Derby. The Bears' run to the Super Bowl with the Fridge.
The Mets over the Red Sox in seven after Buckner's boot.
PAUL J. HUNT, Waverley, Nova Scotia

Did Frank Deford take a nap in 1972? The Miami Dolphins go
undefeated. The Oakland A's win the first of their three
consecutive World Series. John Wooden leads UCLA to its eighth
overall and sixth straight NCAA basketball title. Jack Nicklaus
wins the Masters and the U.S. Open. Mark Spitz wins seven gold
medals at the Summer Olympics.

1974: Ali rope-a-dopes Foreman in Zaire. David Thompson and
North Carolina State beat Bill Walton and UCLA in double
overtime in the semifinals, ending the Bruins' seven-year run of
NCAA crowns. The Celtics overcome Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the
Bucks in the NBA Finals. Quarterback Kenny Stabler brings the
Raiders back to beat the Dolphins 28-26 in the playoffs, ending
Miami's bid to win three straight Super Bowls.
IAN ALLAN, Kenmore, Wash.


You failed to mention the gold medal won in 1998 by the U.S.
women's hockey team in Nagano when it upset Canada to bring home
the championship.
DAVID A. VAN WIE, New Gloucester, Maine

How can you leave out Texas running back Ricky Williams's
rushing record in your recap of why 1998 was the greatest?
MIKE HANEY, Kettering, Ohio

Tubby Smith led Kentucky's basketball team to its third
consecutive NCAA championship game appearance and its second
title in three years.
ANDY BENNER, Louisville

No fan can accept 1998 as the best. One need not look far to find
evidence to the contrary: the NBA lockout, L.A. Dodger Kevin
Brown's absurd $105 million contract, the dubious reinstatement
of Mike Tyson and the scandal involving the Salt Lake City
PATRICK HESTER, Overland Park, Kans.


Your choice of 1982 as a wild-card year was well conceived, but
you neglected to mention the Great One, Wayne Gretzky. In the
1981-82 season, he scored an NHL-record 92 goals.
GLENN COOK, Lethbridge, Alberta

How could you select 1924 without including the seventh game of
the World Series when pitcher Walter Johnson and the Washington
Senators beat manager John McGraw's favored New York Giants 4-3
in 12 innings?
DAVID PALSON, Columbia, Md.

While you did select 1966, you failed to mention the Texas
Western (now UTEP) victory over Kentucky in that year's NCAA
title game. Don Haskins guided his five black starters past
Adolph Rupp's all-white Wildcats, dispelling the notion that
African-Americans could not play disciplined basketball.


Your story on the International Olympic Committee (Breaking
Point, Feb. 1) accurately confirmed that "no one has produced
evidence of wrongdoing" regarding NBC's 1995 Olympic television
deals. No one has and no one will because there was none. Yet
you printed rumors--even going so far as to call them
"rumors"--on that topic. If your investigative reporting found
these nebulous complaints to be without merit, they have no
business--under any definition of journalism--being in print.
NBC Sports and Olympics
New York City
--SI regrets that it failed to seek comment from NBC denying the
rumors. --ED.


Moments to Savor

What about 1968? Denny McLain won 31 games and Bob Gibson
(above) set a record for the lowest ERA. In Grenoble ,
Jean-Claude Killy won three gold medals in Alpine skiing and
figure skater Peggy Fleming won the only U.S. gold. At the
Summer Games in Mexico City, Bob Beamon made his record-breaking
long jump.