PRIDE OF THE CELTICS
Kudos to Frank Deford for digging deeply beneath Red Auerbach's "gruff exterior" to give SI readers such a rich appreciation of this extraordinary man (A Man for All Seasons, Feb. 15). Red and his "Guys" have provided a lifetime of thrills for me. More to the point, he continues to be a superb role model for professionals in all walks of life. Here is an intelligent, industrious, inspirational man who drives his charges hard yet takes tremendous pride in their accomplishments and is genuinely concerned about their overall well-being. Celtic pride—Red's enduring legacy—will always be a standard worthy of emulation. Although I have ceased to be an active follower of professional basketball, I think of Auerbach often and always with a smile on my face. After reading Deford's eloquent article, I was tempted to light up two after-dinner cigars—one for Red and one for Frank!
New York City
It was a pleasure to read about a sports organization in the 20th century that operates like a Ma and Pa store and turns a substantial profit. Red Auerbach's blue-collar kind of entrepreneurship is a breath of fresh air.
Being a non-Bostonian, yet an ardent Celtic fan since 1959, I realized early that the Cousys, Joneses, Russells, Havliceks, Cowenses and others have greatly contributed to this rich tradition, but did not create it. The key to the success story in Beantown is twofold: a parquet floor and Auerbach.
That was a fantastic article on Red Auerbach and a very interesting idea to have him run the Patriots and Red Sox. Those teams, with their ownership, would be the ultimate challenge to any man.
KEVIN P. WARNER
Buzzards Bay, Mass.
You named all the great deals that Red Auerbach pulled off, but you failed to mention the one that we in Detroit feel was the steal of the '70s. It was the trade in which then-Pistons Coach Dick Vitale gave up Chris Ford and a future draft choice for Earl Tatum. Vitale had his pockets picked—and he didn't get a championship ring.
EDWIN F. PIESKO
There is no doubt that Red Auerbach is one of the great general managers of basketball. However, if he could have given me away, as Frank Deford's article claims, why didn't he?
I feel I have been involved in the deal of a lifetime; I'm playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
GRETZKY & TEAM
I want to thank Mike DelNagro for his super article on Wayne Gretzky and his youth-enriched team, the Edmonton Oilers (The Lord of the Rinks, Feb. 15). Gretzky has been my favorite hockey player ever since he became a professional in 1978, and although he is rewriting the NHL record books, it's about time his talented teammates got some recognition, too. If the Oilers can keep up their hard work and determination, they will emerge as the Stanley Cup champions.
Camp Hill, Pa.
Your cover photo of Wayne Gretzky ranks among your best ever. Gretzky's fired-up eyes, which show his determination, remind me of Maurice (The Rocket) Richard's. From the blue line in, no one was better at scoring than Richard—until Gretzky came along.
For years I have argued that Bobby Orr was the greatest hockey player of all time. But times have changed. Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time.
Wayne Gretzky may be the most prolific goal scorer in hockey today but, without a doubt, the best all-around player is Bryan Trottier of the Islanders. He not only scores a lot of goals and assists on many others, but he is also one of the better defensive forwards in the game. He can take what is dished out to him by opposing teams and doesn't need a goon to protect him.
Lord Stanley's Cup will again reside on Long Island at the conclusion of the season.
Culver City, Calif.
Congratulations on finally allotting some space to college hockey and its premier league, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (When You Say Wisconsin..., Feb. 8). In this day of sanctioned hooliganism in the NHL, collegiate-level hockey has shown the nation—and the world—the true essence of the sport. While the rest of the country was awestruck at the success of the little band of "unknowns" at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, devotees of WCHA hockey weren't particularly surprised to see our representatives—more than half the team were WCHA players—persevere where NHL all-star teams had failed and defeat the Russians.
L. SCOTT AYERS
The University of Wisconsin's hockey record—six trips to the NCAA final four in the past 12 years, with three national titles—is impressive. However, the University of Minnesota's record—five appearances in the final two in the past eight years, with three championships—is equally noteworthy. The difference between the programs is that the Gophers play only Minnesota high school products, while the Badgers skate Canadians, a few Wisconsinites and as many Minnesotans as Coach Johnson can recruit.
LEONARD S. RICE
CUMMINGS AND AGUIRRE
We were teammates of Terry Cummings and Mark Aguirre at DePaul. Terry is a great player and deserves the attention you have given him (The Best College Player under 7'4", Feb. 15). Our criticism concerns the manner in which you've portrayed Aguirre. If it weren't for Mark, DePaul might still be the "small school under the El tracks." The instant success Aguirre brought DePaul—Final Four and one of the best win-loss records in college basketball—was the magnet that attracted such prize recruits as Cummings. Since his departure, the media, some of his teammates and coaches have attempted to make Mark a scapegoat for DePaul's poor showing in postseason play. Actually, the blame lies with everyone connected with the team.
Few people realize the burden the media place upon an individual to fulfill an image created by those same media. Many public figures have difficulty dealing with this exposure. No 20-year-old college student can be expected to live up to someone else's ideal. Unfortunately, Aguirre's talent provided sports fans an opportunity to scrutinize his transition into manhood. If Mark actually were as lazy and had as many problems as the sportswriters said, surely he wouldn't have been the first player chosen in the draft.
We would like to thank Mark for the exposure he gave to DePaul and to us. We'd also ask some of his critics to examine this situation a little more closely.
DENNIS M. McGUIRE
SAMUEL J. MANELLA
SOUTH CAROLINA'S WOES
Thank you for the tastefully written, unbiased report on ex-South Carolina Basketball Coach Pam Parsons (Special Report: Stormy Weather at South Carolina, Feb. 8). Jill Lieber and Jerry Kirshenbaum did an excellent job. However, I find it appalling that Frani Washington and Pat Mason had the gall to blow the whistle on Parsons. Did either of them decline the money offered to them? Did either one question or even bother to check on the legality of Parsons' offerings? There are ways.
I'm not saying that what Parsons reportedly did was correct, but I am tired of reading about athletes who fail to accept their part of the responsibility and then run around screaming foul. Pam Parsons is an excellent basketball coach. That she apparently couldn't separate her personal life from her public coaching life is unfortunate. However, she deserved better from those players who had a sudden attack of morality.
More than a sense of anger or shock, I felt utter sadness upon reading your all-too-accurate commentary on women's college athletics. Women's sports are following the well-worn path to collegiate professionalism. Many young women no longer play for the thrill of victory but rather for the dollar. In my opinion, Pam Parsons is at fault for her breach of scholastic and athletic regulations. However, I find the players—Pat Mason and Frani Washington—equally contemptible for accepting monetary gifts. Players who receive and sometimes demand such consideration should be subject to disciplinary measures. These athletes should lose a year of eligibility and any opportunity they may have had for a scholarship.
Administrators in women's athletics have chosen the wrong role model. Many aspire to equality with men's college sports. I, for one, have higher aspirations.
Yale Women's Basketball Team
New Haven, Conn.
In his review (MOVIES, Feb. 8) Frank Deford said, "There is a tendency in movies like Personal Best to overemphasize the seamy side of competition so that promoters can advertise that it isn't just a sports movie." It would appear filmmakers aren't the only ones guilty of preying on the seamy side of competition. In that same issue, SI devoted six pages to an exposé of the recruiting violations and problems associated with one person involved in women's basketball. If you're going to cover women's collegiate basketball, cover all aspects of the sport, not just one event.
Women's basketball has never been more exciting and competitive, with genuine interest filtering through to girls in grammar schools and on playgrounds across the country. But, rather than focus on any of the positive aspects of the game, such as the California high school player, Cheryl Miller, who recently scored more than 100 points in one game, or Louisiana Tech's 54-game winning streak, SI chose to dwell on one issue. I am sorry that SI has traded fair journalism for sensationalism and hope that in the future you will do justice to women's basketball.
Former Basketball Coach
Immaculata College/U.S. Women's Team
I ask you to reflect on the placement, in the same issue as your annual swimsuit feature, of the article exposing alleged lesbianism in a college basketball program. An accident? Regardless of its merits, the article on South Carolina sends an extra message because of the issue in which it appears: Be like the bathing beauties, or else.
Your article concerning the "trouble" at South Carolina is a perfect reflection of the quality of your periodical. It stinks!
Director of Women's Basketball
I enjoyed Robert H. Boyle's article concerning the National Football League Establishment vs. the NFL Players Association (The 55% Solution, Feb. 1). In the article Boyle quoted Stan White as saying that the guy who wrote the strike insurance for the baseball owners "is on a deserted island somewhere." Stan is a heck of a linebacker, but he's offside on his facts. The "guy" and his associates, Jasper Marino and Ted Dipple, aren't on a deserted island, but doing business daily at the same old marketplace.
LAWRENCE V. RHEA
Reed Stenhouse Inc.
Kansas City, Mo.
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