ONE MORE FOR THE CHAMP
Regarding Muhammad Ali's record 28 covers (19TH HOLE, Dec. 5), I believe the number should be 29. A check through my collection revealed that Ali (Clay) also appeared on the inside portion of the gatefold cover of your Dec. 22, 1969 issue. Tom Seaver was on the outside cover as Sportsman of the Year.
•O.K., make it 29.—ED.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE'S COACH
Curry Kirkpatrick's article on Jim Valvano (How King Rat Became Big Cheese, Dec. 5) was one of the best stories you have run all year. Valvano's wit, his style, his attitude, even his hugging make him just what our drug-ridden, money-grubbing sports society needs. I would pay just to watch him coach.
Does V know his basketball? Absolutely! Does Kirkpatrick know how to write? Oh, yes! Are Valvano and Kirkpatrick the best in their professions? No question about it.
Most of what Jim Valvano does for basketball, its fans and those who play the game for him cannot be quantified. It won't show up in the win-loss column or the box-score stats. One feels he gives his players a sense of purpose, preparing them not only for the Final Four, but also for life in general. He exposes their limitations and then somehow gets them to go one better. Coach V proves that it takes more than good recruiting and talented players to win games. Thanks for a fine article on a multidimensional man who certainly adds to a too often one-dimensional sport.
Enough already! Eleven pages—and 16 pictures yet—of the Mouth, Jimmy Valvano! Who cares? He makes Bobby Knight and Howard Cosell seem lovable.
There are plenty of good coaches around who care about their team rather than publicity for themselves. Lou Carnesecca of St. John's is one. How about stories on them?
New York City
What an issue for us roundball fans! The coverage of the Louisville-Kentucky game (The Big Cat Came to Play, Dec. 5) was super. And to answer Curry Kirkpatrick's questions: "How does it feel?" Great! "You happy?" Yes! "Satisfied?" Absolutely! "Fulfilled?" You bet. "Hey, Louisville, you still alive?" Alive and kicking!
Sure Louisville got beat—no, crushed—but the sport will be better for the addition of this regular-season game.
EARL L. TAYLOR
Thanks to Curry Kirkpatrick for his vivid account of the Kentucky-Louisville game and for his insight into the making of this series of regular-season meetings. Like many Kentucky fans around the state, I have anxiously awaited the beginning of this rivalry because it will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Kentucky is still the only way to say—or play—basketball in the Bluegrass State.
MICHAEL K. CURRY
THE REPUS BOWL
Steve Wulf turned a yawner of a pro football game into a truly "repus" article (A Clash of Turkeys, Dec. 5). His subtle wit had me laughing out loud. A rare but pleasurable reading experience.
Thanks to Steve Wulf for the funniest article about pro football I've ever read. He captured the flavor of the pathetic performances the Oilers and Buccaneers have given their fans all year long..ekoj a tsuj saw emag ehT
HOLMES VS. YOUNG FRAZIER
That was a marvelous piece by Pat Putnam on the Larry Holmes-Marvis Frazier mismatch (No Chip off the Old Block, Dec. 5). Putnam's account was short and to the point, as was the fight. I think Holmes should have delivered a right cross to the jaw of Joe Frazier for Frazier's utter lack of regard for his son's inexperience.
I enjoyed Dan Jenkins' article on The Skins Game (No Skinsflints Around Here, For Sure, Dec. 5). I can appreciate the skills of the professional golfers involved, but what's the big deal—four guys getting together and playing for $360,000 of someone else's money! Let four top golfers put up $90,000 each and then go at it. That would be an interesting match!
RICHARD A. CHARD
Huntington Beach, Calif.
To me, The Skins Game was one of the worst things to happen to the game of golf in all of its honorable history. This was greed in capital letters, not sport.
WILLIAM M. REILLY JR.
Dan Jenkins described the action to a tee. However, he would have a hard time picking up a game in our foursome if he maintains that "an invocation of the Rules of Golf in a skins game seems almost funny. Everyone knows in a real skins game anything goes, including roots." Dan would be the first to go. Golfers never lie; they play it as it lies.
I am a charter subscriber, and over the years I have had letters published in SI with good results. In 1962 (19TH HOLE, May 28, 1962) I advocated padding outfield walls in major league baseball parks. Shortly afterward cushioning began to appear on the walls of parks in both leagues. Today all outfields in the majors have this safety feature.
Then in 1963, citing Howard (Hopalong) Cassady, who a few years before had turned his head to catch a touchdown pass and crashed into a goalpost planted right on the goal line, I sent a message and drawing (19TH HOLE, Jan. 28, 1963) advocating that goalposts be placed beyond the end zone and that the crossbar and uprights be cantilevered out over the goal line. I also recommended coating the crossbar and uprights with transmission grease to prevent fanatics from climbing them and tearing them down. We soon had a version of the new goalposts. However, my third suggestion has yet to take hold. If the goalposts in the Yale Bowl had been "buttered," Harvard freshman Margaret Cimino (SCORECARD, Nov. 28) most likely would not have been injured.
AUSTIN C. DALEY
I find it sad that your editorial on the tearing down of goalposts came only after Margaret Cimino was hurt. Miss Cimino's condition was described as critical at the time. Please tell us how she is now.
Mountlake Terrace, Wash.
•Cimino was moved last week from a New Haven hospital to the Westchester County Medical Center, near her home in North Tarrytown, N.Y. Officials said Cimino's condition has been upgraded to fair, but she still suffers from paralysis on her left side and on parts of her right.—ED.
Letters should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.