That was a fascinating analysis of the Los Angeles Lakers' chances to repeat as NBA champions (The Dread R Word, April 18). However, you omitted a discussion of the biggest obstacle in their path: the Bird factor.
Amen to Dave Wohl's article about Darryl Dawkins (Manchild in the NBA, April 11). Dawkins realizes perhaps better than anyone else that he is in the entertainment business. When you combine Darryl's athletic skills with his sense of humor and imagination, who is to say that he hasn't far surpassed his potential?
I hope Dawkins has a lot more than five years remaining in pro basketball, either on a court or behind a microphone, because I miss him. I suspect others do, too.
New York City
Regarding Darryl Dawkins and unfulfilled potential, I am reminded of the words of Coleridge: "By what I have effected, am I to be judged by my fellow-men; what I could have done, is a question for my own conscience."
SEAN M. MEHEGAN
OLYMPIC PRIZE MONEY
I find little to support Kenny Moore's suggestion (POINT AFTER, March 28) that today's top U.S. marathoners may be compromised in their devotion to athletic excellence in the Olympic trials because of prize money. I've talked with nearly all of those who will compete in the trials, and their respect for the event is as intense as that of the Olympic contenders who have gone before them. The difference is that this time around potential Olympians can concentrate on the trials without having to flirt with financial ruin.
Does Moore really believe that going to a banquet two days before the trials to show sponsors and organizers some gratitude for financial support is going to "hemorrhage the legs or alter the values" of top runners? American runners may be suffering from a lot of things—desultory interest among the powers that be, media indifference to their sport, fiercer international competition and insufficient control of performance drugs internationally. Money paid in the Olympic trials, though, isn't one of them.
President, Association of Road Racing Athletes
•Kardong finished fourth in the 1976 Olympic marathon.—ED.
The caption to the picture of Bob and Elizabeth Dole at the NCAA Final Four (A One Man Show, April 11) states that the Doles were "savoring the victory over Duke" by Kansas. While that may have been true of the senator, who attended Kansas in 1941-42 and '42-43 before going off to fight with the Army in World War II, the same surely cannot be said of his wife, the former secretary of transportation. She graduated from Duke, and is shown wearing a LET'S GO DUKE button and a GO DUKE button in the photograph to which the caption refers.
I enjoyed Austin Murphy's coverage of the NCAA hockey championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. (Truly Superior Lakers, April 11). He certainly captured the spirit and color of this event.
A little-known but interesting fact about the tournament is that five players who performed under coach Charlie Huntington at the Canterbury School in New Milford, Conn., were represented on three of the four final teams. Brian Bellefeuille of Maine, Brian Corso and Mike de Carle of Lake Superior State and the Lappin brothers, Pete and Tim, of Saint Lawrence all wore Canterbury blue. Moreover, de Carle and Pete Lappin were two of the six players named to the all-tournament team.
KEVIN J. COLLINS
Your article on relief pitchers and their place in the strategy of the game (How Do You Spell Success? R-E-L-I-E-F, April 4) reminded me of an incident that occurred on May 17, 1979. On that date, the Chicago Cubs suffered a 23-22 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies. Dennis Lamp started for the Cubs and Randy Lerch for the Phillies. Both pitchers took their showers in the first inning. Chicago proceeded to use five relievers, Philadelphia four. While high-scoring games are not uncommon, particularly at Wrigley Field, what's interesting about this game is that four of the Cub relievers—Willie Hernandez, Bill Caudill, Donnie Moore and Bruce Sutter (the losing pitcher)—went on to be considered among the best relievers of the'80s.
Salt Lake City
Q & A
Steve Wulf (20 Questions, April 4) asks, "Why do baseball managers wear uniforms when coaches in most other sports wear street clothes?" I have a couple of additional replies. In no other major team sport is the manager or coach allowed on the field of play—though it might be entertaining to see an NHL coach chase down a linesman to protest a call. In basketball, of course, coaches do not wear uniforms because the nation is not yet prepared to see John Thompson or Frank Layden in shorts.
Here's one for when you do college football 20 questions: Why on PATs and field goals is the play not blown dead when the holder's knee touches the ground and he is in possession of the ball? Does this not meet the definition of a dead ball?
•According to Dave Nelson, secretary and editor of the NCAA Football Rules Committee, an exception to the Dead Ball Rule (Rule 4-13-b), which was formulated mainly to allow players to fake field goals and then either run with the ball or pass it, permits the holder to touch his knee to the ground. The exception reads: "The ball remains alive when an offensive player has simulated a kick or is in position to kick the ball held for a placekick by a teammate. The ball may be kicked, passed or advanced."—ED.
Please identify the Los Angeles Lakers on your April 18 cover.
BRIAN J. STRUNC
I think it's worth noting that five members of NCAA championship teams—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (UCLA, 1967, '68, '69), Magic Johnson (Michigan State, 79), James Worthy (North Carolina, '82) and Milt Wagner and Billy Thompson (both Louisville, '86)—are among the Lakers pictured on your cover.
Greenlawn, N. Y.
The Lakers, as keyed in the silhouette above right, are: 1) coach Pat Riley, 2) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 3) Wes Matthews, 4) assistant coach Bill Bertka, 5) Mychal Thompson, 6) A.C. Green, 7) Michael Cooper, 8) Kurt Rambis, 9) trainer Gary Vitti, 10) Byron Scott, 11) Magic Johnson, 12) Mike Smrek, 13) assistant coach Randy Pfund, 14) Billy Thompson, 15) James Worthy and 16) Milt Wagner.
[See caption above.]
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.