I must say that learning of Alabama's 5'9" dunker (Dunkers Are Strutting Their Stuffs, March 14) raised my spirits to alltime highs. I am 14 years old, 5'9" tall and play basketball. One of my fondest dreams is of the day when, before a standing-room-only crowd, I can do a 360, double-pump and bite the rim.
I practice my form on doors, windowsills, 9-foot Jr. Pro League goals and anything else I can possibly slam a basketball over, including people. When that magical moment comes when I find myself soaring through the wild blue yonder looking down upon the horror-stricken countenance of my opponent, while surveying that no longer formidable iron hoop, I'm going to know just what to do. And when that moment comes, look out, 'cause I ain't comin' down without the rim!
When I was a freshman at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1967, a friend and I entered the gym for a game of one-on-one and found that the portable goal had been moved under the overhanging balcony to make room for a dance. Because the goal had been tilted, the rim was approximately 7 feet off the floor. Both of us realized that the opportunity of a lifetime was staring us in the face. Playing "possession," my opponent stuffed three straight. On his fourth possession I tipped the ball as he drove and grabbed it directly under the basket. My adrenaline pumped furiously, for I knew I was about to do what I had only dreamed of. I slammed it through as my forehead met the rim. The feeling was worth all 37 stitches.
Because of the dunk and the increase in broken rims in playgrounds, kids are being deprived of the opportunity to play basketball. These rims are not replaced immediately as they do in the pros or colleges, but more like six months later if you're lucky.
In his last paragraph Barry McDermott reveals his ignorance of the sport of power volleyball by implying that volleyball players are only "tippers." If he had ever observed a serious power volleyball match he would have seen that volleyball players also rank with "...those who can fly in the sky." Pounding an overhead spike down the near sideline inside the 10-foot line, over an 8-foot net and over two or three blockers sounds like flying in the sky to me.
Not only are power volleyball players of the U.S. Volleyball Association offended but also I'm sure Wilt Chamberlain, former King of Dunk, is offended, too; The Stilt "flies in the sky" in the U.S. professional volleyball league now.
CHRIS W. HYVONEN
Your article on dunking was a great stuff.
THE CAUTHEN PHENOMENON
It is my opinion that you are heaping too much praise on Jockey Steve Cauthen (This Could Be the Start, March 7). How much skill does it take to ride a horse faster than another horse? Is one jockey that much better than another? I am a member of the Ardenheim Horseman's Association and I firmly believe that the race depends on the quality of the horses involved, not the jockeys.
There is an amazing resemblance between Steve Cauthen, the young man who expresses himself in relatively few words, and another sportsman who is far more loquacious. Add a few wrinkles, a widened face resulting from the jowls of age and thinning of hair and you have Howard Cosell in racing silks!
I feel Adrian Dantley is definitely the best rookie in the NBA today (Finding a Home with the Braves, March 14). But then you list Nine More Good Ones and none of them are even close to "good" compared to the Atlanta Hawks' Armond Hill, whom you do not mention.
Scott May is just now reaching full strength after his bout with mononucleosis. He has improved offensively and held stars like Rick Barry and Julius Erving well under their averages. His clutch play has been instrumental in the Bulls' recent improvement. He should be given serious consideration as Rookie of the Year.
BOB DI PRIMA
You failed to mention Wally Walker of the Portland Trail Blazers. It should be only a matter of time before he achieves superstar status.
You've got to be kidding. Not putting the New York Knicks' Lonnie Shelton among the Nine More Good Ones? He gives you 100% every time he goes out on the floor. He can score, rebound, block shots, intimidate, set picks and a lot more. Shelton is going to be a superstar.
Island Trees, N.Y.
If Tom Lasorda's Dodgers (An Infusion of Fresh Dodger-Blue Blood, March 14) are supposed to win their division and even the National League, they have to remember one thing: they'll have to face the Big Blue Machine in the World Series—the Kansas City Royals.
Lasorda may bleed Dodger blue now, but at the end of the season he'll bleed red—Cincinnati Red.
When Tommy Lasorda instills that Blue-Blood loyalty in Dodger newcomers Rick Monday, Reggie Smith and Dusty Baker, the rest of baseball is going to start bleeding yellow. For scared!
The main reason the NHL and the WHA and all the other major leagues are in trouble is because players insist on being paid salaries in the millions. The Cleveland situation, which Peter Gammons explained so well (Cleveland's Not Barren, March 7), is no different. The one thing the players wouldn't do was take a pay cut. Sooner or later they're going to have no choice because the fans are sick of it and will attend fewer games. If this happens, the million-dollar players will be lucky to get one-sixth of their salaries.
OUT IN THE COLD
I wish that I had read Bil Gilbert's article on winter camping (Facing Old King Cold, March 14) before I hit the trail for my first winter trip last month. I did not realize how hard it would be to keep the water supply unfrozen and that it would definitely be quite uncomfortable to don a pair of frozen hiking boots the next morning. I figured that if I wore a few layers of the warmest clothing I owned, I'd be all right. In less than a mile of walking, I was sweating profusely. I shall be better prepared next time.
I had never bet on a horse before, but I couldn't wait for Trusty Time (SCORECARD, March 7) to appear in New York. Sure enough, in his first race at Roosevelt Raceway he won by two lengths, paying $13.20. I hope our Amish farmer got his money's worth from the horse trader. In the meantime, I am saving my $13.20 until something else as interesting comes up in a future issue.
You say (SCORECARD, March 14) that Fred Merkle's famous boner occurred in the 1908 World Series. Not true. It occurred in a September 1908 regular-season contest with the Chicago Cubs and forced a playoff for the National League crown, which the Cubs won. The Cubs then proceeded to defeat the Detroit Tigers in the Series.
KENNETH R. SCHMEICHEL
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