JUST PLAIN BILL
Pat Putnam's article on Bill Walton (That's No Way to Talk to Teacher, Oct. 14), was unfair. It sounded as though Putnam actually expected Walton would be able to overpower Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
No veteran center has ever dominated Kareem, so how can anyone expect Walton, after only four pro exhibition games, to handle him?
It is going to take a long time before Bill Walton turns into a superstar. I hope the press doesn't judge him prematurely.
Being a Bill Walton admirer and a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hater, I predict that Walton will waltz away with the NBA's rookie honors and will outduel Abdul henceforth. Although such a matchup will highlight the coming NBA season, another confrontation will also prove noteworthy: Bill Walton vs. Tom Burleson. Unselfish and winning attitudes seem to be inherent qualities of redheaded centers. After all, isn't it Dave Cowens, and not Jabbar, who pivots the NBA champions? In time Big Bill will also hold that distinction.
GEORGE R. WOODS
Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
Pat Putnam's story on Walton and Abdul-Jabbar was one of the most sensitive and delightful I have read in a long time. Walton has another fabulous career waiting for him on the stage when he finishes with basketball. There has not been such a fiendish, Mephistophelian leer since the days of John Barrymore.
Bill Walton's attitude, personality and general way of life are already more professional than that of most established pros. Why do you continue to call him a student? He doesn't wear the clothes of a self-centered millionaire. He wants more out of life than money and prestige. Let me tell you, Bill Walton is sitting up there at the teacher's desk when class is in session on "How to be human and survive the NBA."
FOR SPORT'S SAKE
Bravo for your Oct. 14 SCORECARD item on South Africa and the Davis Cup. I always wondered why South African athletes should be punished for their government's political leaning, and I've finally found someone with courage enough to come out and say it.
J. A. RONDEAU
Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Congratulations to Dick Johnston for his superb article (The Men and the Myth, Oct. 14). Appealing to the hundreds of thousands of Americans interested in physical fitness, such an article was indeed long in coming but well worth the wait.
Johnston is to be commended for writing such an honest and unprejudiced account of the bodybuilding scene. I work out regularly with weights, and find the improvement in my health and overall appearance is worth the hours devoted to the iron game. Johnston captures this all so well.
PETER W. ROBERTS
Pompano Beach, Fla.
I refer to your article about Wilt Chamberlain, My Impact Will Be Everlasting, Oct. 7. Separate a child from the security and admiration of his contemporaries. Change the rules of a national sport to overcompensate for his talent. Editorially second-guess his wisdom and loyalty for not completing college to join a financially unsound black basketball team. Sell him from team to team and hire coaches that negate his main concentration, offensive basketball. Ignore the impact that his defensive skills have on the NBA record book.
To the average American, Wilt is an egotistical recalcitrant who has never realized his full potential, but if this is true, the above are obvious reasons. Wilt is the product of Watergate mentalities and a bad press, for he is a man of sacrifice. It is America that refuses to recognize his full accomplishments. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is to be commended for printing the personal opinions of a much-maligned man.
LEROY K. JOHNSON
Minot Air Force Base, N.Dak.
I can't help detecting a trace of levity in Dan Jenkins' article (A Patriotic Shout, Oct. 14) on the New England Patriots. Is this intentional? Does Mr. Jenkins still deny that the Pats are for real?
In the game today you rarely find a team with that good old Boomer Sooner spirit. The only thing that many players get enthusiastic over is their paycheck. It's about time some spirit was instilled into the pros. My advice to Mr. Jenkins is to give credit and respect where they are due. The Pats are a team to be reckoned with.
Perhaps the intellectuals "sitting around Harvard Square" are now starting to look up from their "Sanskrit" and "waterpipes," but we looked up a month ago. We know who Jim Plunkett and Chuck Fairbanks are. So on Sundays books and Smithies are cast aside so that we may witness the Patriots' triumphant ride.
D. FULTON, D. HENDEL, D. MITCHELL,
R. NORMAN, D. SELBY
In answer to your question, "Whatever happened to McGill?" in the SCORECARD item (Oct. 7) on Harvard's football centenary, let me tell you McGill is doing fine. The Redmen were undefeated in Quebec last year, beat the western Canadian champions and lost their only game in the College Bowl, Canada's national college championship.
This year all the teams in the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union are wearing "100" on their helmets to commemorate the centennial of football in North America. On Oct. 5 at the game against the University of Toronto the halftime show was a replay of the Harvard-McGill game of 1874.
I read with great interest your report that Harvard now claims to have played the first football game. This assertion raises several questions which Mr. Cohane and the Harvard Football News might not like to answer.
First, where was Harvard last year when the NCAA held its football centennial celebration? Next, one might wonder where Harvard was in 1969, when Princeton and Rutgers played their centennial contest. I find it hard to believe that Mr. Cohane has spent five years researching this "amazing" discovery. Instead, I have an alternate thesis. Could the announcement possibly be the beginning of an insidious plot by the Cantabs to claim every first in the record book? Just think how much fun it would be to see Harvard after every entry. Better than that, you could simply condense the record book to one sentence on one page. It would read, "Harvard, first to do everything."
KENNETH I. MOCH, '76
The Criminals, the varsity football team of Yuma High School, have been written about in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED because of their name and, more recently, their extended losing streak.
The streak is over! At El Centro, Calif. the Crims beat EC 20-0. This was the first varsity win in 49 attempts.
Victory has returned to Yuma High.
In the beautifully illustrated Heaven Down Under (Oct. 7), Robert F. Jones writes of the imported Russian River rainbows with which the famous New Zealand North Island fishery was started. These fish came from Russian River winter steelhead eggs shipped to the Auckland Acclimatization Society in 1883 from a hatchery on the Russian River run by the Great Western Railway Company.
We are trying our best to save the remnants of the once-famous Russian River steelhead runs here but, obviously, the fish are thriving better in New Zealand than in their native waters. This should tell you something about the dismal steelhead conservation record in California.
HERBERT L. JOSEPH, M.D.
Chairman, Steelhead Committee
RIGHT THERE IN CENTRAL CITY
Regarding SCORECARD'S (Oct. 7) mention of Central City, Colo. and Lew Cady, I should like to set the record straight. Having just returned from Denver and America's greatest sporting event—the 4th Annual Convention of the Beer Can Collectors of America, of which Mr. Cady was also a co-organizer—I must assure you that Mr. Cady has never said anything nervously. And the stalwart postmaster of Central City, Max Robb, tells me it is impossible that a woman judge would be hit by a half-full can of beer. In Central City, only half-empty cans of beer are allowed.
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