Peter Carry states (A Matter of Celtic Pride, May 20) that it was actually the Bucks who were more unyielding in holding Boston considerably under its 109 points per game regular season average. However, he fails to mention that Boston held Milwaukee well under its season average of 107 points per game. In fact, the Bucks scored fewer than 90 points in four of the seven playoff games, scoring more than 100 points in two games only because they went into overtime. Boston clearly was stingier and outplayed Milwaukee throughout the series. Please give credit where it is due.
John Havlicek is a great player who deserves most of the recognition he is receiving. However, the award reads Most Valuable Player. A number of NBA stars could have brought the Celtics the title (e.g., Walt Frazier or Rick Barry). But only one man in basketball history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, could have brought a mediocre team like the Bucks, who were playing without star guard Lucius Allen, so close to a title. It was an effort beyond any of Russell or Chamberlain, and Abdul-Jabbar deserved the designation Most Valuable Player.
Peter Carry's report on the NBA playoffs nearly ignored a super effort by the Milwaukee Bucks. It took the Celtics seven games to beat a team with one aging but agile guard, one forward who could only rebound, another who could only shoot and a center who had to take all his rest breaks on the court. Plus sneaky sub Mickey Davis, who surprised everybody.
The Bucks didn't lose. They just ran out of steam. With a healthy Lucius Allen, it wouldn't even have been close. Only John Havlicek played a great series for the Celtics.
And Havlicek's stamina at his age can also be explained. For the better part of his Boston career he was the sixth man—getting plenty of rest on the bench. When did Oscar Robertson ever sit on a bench?
I think Peter got Carry-ed away by Red Auerbach's victory cigar smoke.
C. R. WERLE
GOODBY BIG O
What was overlooked in all the excitement of the NBA playoffs was the farewell of the Big O—Oscar Robertson, dominating college basketball in the late '50s, leading the U.S. Olympic team (considered by many the finest aggregation of hoop talent ever) to a gold medal and keeping the Cincinnati Royals in the NBA. In 1971 he capped his quest for an NBA championship by taking the Milwaukee Bucks to the title with the help of second-year Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Back in my high school days in New Jersey the reason to see the lowly Knicks in old Madison Square Garden was twofold: the Cousy-Russell Celtics and the Big O.
The time has come for baseball to do something about eliminating the mayhem that takes place at second when a base runner attempts to break up the double play. When Don Baylor of the Orioles (6'1" and 190 pounds) crashes into Angel Hermoso of the Indians (5'9" and 155 pounds), baseball ceases to be sport. If there isn't some penalty established, then retaliation will naturally result.
Maybe we need some huskies like Honus Wagner or Nap Lajoie to handle these crashing runners. Or a feisty shortstop like Rabbit Maranville, who refused to throw around Cy Williams as he came into second standing up and instead threw right into his face. I saw this happen some 50 years ago. Perhaps landing on the crasher spikes first is the answer. Or an irate crowd of spectators waiting at the exit to decry the culprit, as happened to Ty Cobb in Philadelphia after he spiked Eddie Collins and Home Run Baker on the same day. Cobb needed a cordon of police to protect him.
Something needs to be done before a collision more serious than the Hermoso incident occurs.
ALL THAT GLITTERS
Everything is not golden for World Team Tennis (A Golden Week for a Lot of Oldies, May 20). Attendance at the Chicago Aces matches is so bad that one of the players is a DF—designated fan.
JOHN J. LYONS
Your coverage of the NCAA volleyball finals (Leapin' Lizards, It's UCLA Again, May 20) left out some notable facts. One is that the Gauchos of the University of California at Santa Barbara captured four open tournaments this year, which no other collegiate team has ever done. The old record was two. And the difference between the two dynasties was omitted. While the UCLA Bruins have built their dynasty the same way they did their basketball teams, with money for athletic scholarships, not one Gaucho is on full scholarship. This is noteworthy in an area where money is considered necessary to produce champions.
As a mediocre volleyball player myself from Pacific Palisades I was greatly pleased to see your fine article on this quickly growing sport.
Jerry Kirshenbaum reported that UCLA and UCSB Team Captains Bob Leonard and Dave DeGroot are Palisadians. I would like to point out that DeGroot's teammates Mike Maas and Jay Hanseth are also Palisades High School products. Along with Leonard, Palisadians playing for the Bruins are Chris Irvin (brother of ex-UCLA All-America Dick Irvin), John Bekins (brother of Mike Bekins, Pepperdine University star, and Milo Bekins, an All-America on last year's NCAA championship San Diego State team where he played with Palisadians Randy Stevenson, Wayne Gracey and Chris Marlowe, All-Americas all), and David Nichols. The talent from volleyball-mad Palisades does not stop there. Frank Taylor started for the third-ranked USC Trojans for the past two years.
It looks like the NCAA team with the most Palisades boys usually wins. If this remains the case, the Bruins should be tough again in '75 with five ex-Dolphins on the floor.
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
I enjoyed reading Ron Fimrite's fine story (Deep in the Heart, for a Change, May 20), chronicling the baseball adventures of the Texas Rangers. It is refreshing and a good thing for baseball in general to see a doormat team suddenly turn into an interesting, challenging club. True, the Rangers may not win the pennant this year, but they will make it hot for some of the others, principally the established contenders.
WILLIAM F. O'BRIEN
The comments in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SCORECARD, May 6) by Mike Aguirre, president of the student government at the University of California, are of particular interest to me: "The issue is how best to spend our money to meet the needs of the greatest number." The move to put more emphasis on intramural activities and less emphasis on intercollegiate athletics makes a lot of sense. At 5'6", and 130 pounds, I am certainly no match for the 6'5", 230-pound behemoths who dominate intercollegiate athletics. The majority of students are like me: small in stature and mediocre athletes. Only a small portion of any student body constitutes the large, muscular superathletes. We, the average, have no hope of competing at the level of the David Thompsons and Bill Waltons.
GLEN T. FUJIMORI
Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
It's too bad, but the old Philadelphia sports jokes just won't hold water any more because the Philly sports explosion is well under way.
The Flyers won the Stanley Cup: the Phillies find themselves going strong after a long drought in the National League East; the Atoms, the defending North American Soccer League champions, are undefeated in league play; and the newly born Freedoms seem to be unbeatable.
The Eagles have a strong chance of challenging Washington and Dallas later on this year, and the 76ers are rebuilding slowly but surely.
It is sometimes said, "There's no difficulty so hopeless that it can't be made worse with 'aid' from the Federal Government."
SI's SCORECARD (May 13) plainly pointed out that the Federal Government is about to stretch its already far-reaching tentacles even farther and put a bureaucratic stranglehold on amateur sports.
There might be more to say for the proposal if the Federal Government had demonstrated greater ability to manage the many affairs already within its purview. But nothing it touches becomes any less complicated or troublesome, and there is no reason to believe it would perform any better in the arena of amateur athletics.
D. E. PORTER
The inevitable consequence of further government involvement in sport will be the eruption of various pressure groups forced to beg and whine for political favors. If there is a sensible reason for contaminating amateur sports with politics and increasing opportunities for political graft, I would certainly like to know it!
G. BYARD LILLEY
Virginia Beach, Va.
RED HEAD (CONT.)
Usually the great American halftime show is unable to compete with the habitual retreat to the kitchen during a basketball game, but a precedent was set a few weeks ago. Before all of America seven truly dedicated Red Heads made a television debut as they dazzled the audience with their tricks, not unlike the Harlem Globetrotters in talent and showmanship.
The article in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is one tribute to the Red Heads (All Red, So Help Them Henna, May 6), who obviously deserve more recognition and praise than has been given them. Because of your story, which was well written and informative, maybe more people will be aware of them. I hope this professional team receives the support it deserves.
Having played against the All-American Red Heads twice, I read your article with enthusiasm. I was disappointed to learn, however, that the best women's basketball team in North America, as a whole, makes only $40,000 a year. Of course, a monetary value cannot be placed on all the fun "Christmas Days" they have. All professional athletes should read this article.
G. CURTIS AKARD
Orwell Moore's splendid female athletes may have dyed their hair red, but no disguise can cover up the authoritarian and sexist attitudes rooted in the team's owner. Moore seems to regard his players as dehumanized automatons whose freedom of choice must be limited to performing on the basketball court but who are otherwise unfit to be treated as adults. His comment that he "takes a beer myself from time to time but the Red Heads are not to drink" makes Moore sound like one of the hypocrites with a double standard. Moreover, Moore's remarks that the women love basketball so much that they don't care how much they get paid reflects a patronizing attitude.
I can't help but feel that the authors have grossly underestimated the talents of women basketball players if they believe, as stated in the article, that the Red Heads are the best basketball team in North America. The best teams compete each year in the AAU National Championships. From this tournament is chosen the All-America team which is now training for an upcoming series with Russia and planning for the next Olympics. I believe the authors must consider the type of competition that the Red Heads meet before they can say that they are the best team. Any of the top AAU teams would look like world champs playing what the authors described as men "gasping like beached fish" or men having' 'soft paunches and fat arms." The AAU teams have had years of experience playing against the best teams in the U.S. as well as touring teams like Russia and the Republic of China. I suggest the authors attend the next AAU National Tournament in March to watch the best basketball teams in North America.
Along with millions of other NBA fans I witnessed via TV half of the first Buck-Celtic playoff game. That is, we were permitted to see only half of the actual playing time so Rick Barry would have ample time to explain the plays. At times Rick became so fascinated with his beautiful voice and the electronic playback equipment that he would chatter through the next two plays.
After viewing the NBA playoffs, the old question comes up again about which came first, the NBA referee or the straitjacket?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hardly had a chance: he was pushed, shoved and tripped. I considered it a moral victory to see him come back downcourt in one piece.
But as one outraged Atlanta fan once stood up and screamed (while the Atlanta Hawks were trailing the Philadelphia 76ers by 14 points), "Don't feel bad about it, folks, we're going five on seven."
Tony Waldrop's performance (his unparalleled string of sub-four-minute miles) and, equally important, his perspective (on athletics, on education, on life) make him a natural choice for Sportsman of the Year.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
FRONT AND CENTER
Where was Peter Carry (They're Centers of Attention, May 13) during the Buffalo-Boston series? First of all, Boston didn't "dally briefly in knocking out Buffalo 4-2." With a few breaks going the other way Boston could have been on the short end of the series. In the first game the Braves blew a 17-point third-quarter lead due to a lack of previous playoff experience. In the final game they missed a chance for overtime when Boston's Jo Jo White scored the winning point on a free throw after time had run out.
Secondly, Carry asks, "Could Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the game's best, score often enough to dominate Dave Cowens, the second best?" Is he kidding? Or does he just praise the big names on reputation alone? He can't seriously believe that Dave Cowens is the second-best center in the NBA. Granted, Cowens has established that he hustles and can win on a team with the likes of John Havlicek and Jo Jo White, but no one who really watched this season's matchups could fail to realize that Buffalo's Bob McAdoo in only his second year was clearly the superior basketball player. In 22 of 24 quarters of playoff action McAdoo outplayed Cowens. During the regular season Big Mac ate up Cowens with 52-and 48-point games. Against the rest of the league McAdoo didn't do much, he just led the NBA in scoring and field goal percentage while helping his team almost double its previous year's victory total (22-42). Even Ray Fitzgerald of The Boston Globe concedes McAdoo's talent: "It's as though a coach sketched him on a drawing board and asked MIT to build him just that way."
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