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Original Issue


1972 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team
As a member of the West German Olympic basketball team at the Munich Games and a spectator at the U.S.-Soviet final, I still vividly recall the end of that game (A Few Pieces of Silver, June 15). It was total confusion, and the outcome was tragic for the American team. The U.S. had never lost an Olympic basketball game, but this was a year that many felt international basketball had come of age. We played Yugoslavia, Puerto Rico and the Soviets. All were excellent teams with medal potential.

The final was intense, and the Soviets played exceptionally well. Hank Iba, the U.S. coach, had a much quicker, faster team than the Soviets, but he had his players play a slow, deliberate game. With the talent he had, the game never should have been close.

As an Olympian, I would have been glad to accept any medal. The object of the Olympics is to be there, to have the Olympic experience. Most Olympians don't win medals. The U.S. players acted selfishly in not accepting the silver medal.
Shell Beach, Calif.

Wouldn't it be a beautiful slice of Americana if the members of the 1992 U.S. men's basketball team, inevitable winners of the gold, were to award their medals to the members of the '72 squad?
Weirton, W.Va.

Shrinking Stadium
As a Bulls season-ticket holder for more than 16 years, I enjoyed Rick Telander's article about Chicago Stadium ("Da Stadium," June 1). Although it was not mentioned, I believe one reason William Wirtz and Jerry Reinsdorf want to build a new stadium is the fact that the old one is shrinking. Years ago it was not uncommon for the announced attendance for a Bulls game to be 20,500 or 21,500. For the past several years the maximum attendance announced has been 18,676. What gives? Is the building shrinking or did the fire commissioner finally tell the stadium what a safe announced number in attendance is? I don't believe the 18,676 figure.

•The Bulls have eliminated from sale several obstructed-view and partially obstructed-view seats. While the Bulls still sell some partially obstructed-view seats, 18,676 is considered the current building capacity for basketball, including standing room. The largest crowd at a Bulls game in Chicago Stadium was 21,652 at a game against Houston in 1977.

Y'all Blew It
Now, I ain't one of them locker room sniffin', stage-mother kind of parents, but I want to complain about your not putting Pat Ahearne on your June 15 cover, even though he won the big game in the College World Series (The Waves Roll In). Who was that basketball player on there, anyway? Oh, sure, I think I saw this Jordan guy once on Saturday Night Live, but that's no reason to put him on the cover. Besides, if I recollect correct from high school, basketball is played in November and December. Real red-blooded 'Merkins (Texas spelling) care only about baseball in June. And another thing, this Hershiser look-alike stuff. Like Garth says, I have friends in low places, and those ole boys are having a great time kidding me about some Fancy Dan California dude looking more like my kid than I do. I'm sure y'all can understand that it's affecting my pool game.

Commissioner Stern
I want to object in as strong a way as possible to the statement in Steve Wulf's June 22 POINT AFTER that I am not a fan of NBA commissioner David Stern. In fact, the opposite is true. I consider Stern to be the greatest commissioner in the history of sports. The fact that he and I have had one business disagreement, over the Bulls' being on WGN-TV, has not diminished that belief. To the contrary, that disagreement has only heightened my respect for him, because it has in no way affected our relationship in other areas.
Chairman, Chicago Bulls

Then and Now
Recently I perused a couple of scrapbooks that I have been keeping for more than 55 years. I am enclosing a letter I received in 1937 from John Mara, the president of the New York Giants football team at the time. In light of the contracts being offered athletes today, I believe your readers might be interested in seeing Mara's letter.

Though I did play semipro football in Portland, Maine, for two years while attending dental school at Harvard, I believe I made the correct decision to give up the opportunity to play in the NFL. By the way, the Portland Sagamores paid me $25 per game. I had to provide my own transportation to and from Portland and pay for all my game-day meals. How things have changed.
Auburn, Maine



Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATKD 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.