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"Dick Vitale makes college hoops fun. Dick Vitale makes life fun for those he touches. Keep talking, Dicky Vee!"

Dicky Vee
Dick Vitale may be a little loud (I've Gotta Be Me, March 7), and sure, his English is occasionally incorrect, but what makes Vitale so likable is that there is nothing mean or pretentious or phony about him. His enthusiasm for college basketball is sincere. You can have your slick analysts, pretty-boy announcers and cynical journalists. I'll take the bald-headed regular guy who's ecstatic because he knows he has the best job going—he watches big-time college hoops and gets paid for it.

The best color men of the last 10 years have been John Madden, Jim Valvano and Dick Vitale. Not a J-school grad in the bunch. Who wants to watch some starch-soaked, fake-smilin', no-opinion-givin', insincere egghead snob when you have Dicky Vee jumping, screaming, living and pumping you up?
GINO BARASA, San Antonio

As the basketball team manager last season at Saint Mary's College of California, I was traveling to a game when I met Dicky Vee at an airport. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. Later, finding out that he and I share a birthday, June 9, I sent him a card. A couple of weeks passed, then I received a copy of his book Time Out, Baby! I was amazed. The book is inscribed, "Happy birthday on a Great Day. You are awesome, baby! Dick Vitale."

Every time I look at it, I can hear him screaming those words at me. It's never too loud.

Years ago, when I was driving a cab, I picked up Vitale one night at Detroit Metro Airport. During the ride to his home, we talked very little because he was doing his "homework," leading the sports sections of the seven newspapers he had picked up at the airport. When he finished, he apologized and invited me into his home for coffee. I met his wife and saw his den, which had more memorabilia than the Basketball Hall of Fame. I left an hour later knowing Vitale as a genuine, knowledgeable, nice guy.
RICK OSBORNE, Redford Township, Mich.

Thespian Athletes
My wife and I own a weekly paper in Maine, for which I also write a column. It has been cold here this winter, so on Jan. 20, I wrote about how to stay warm. One of my hints was "Smile. Rent a comedy. I'd go with Blazing Saddles just to see Alex Karras punch out a horse." As you note of Karras in your March 7 SCORECARD listing athletes who have gone on to star in movies, "His KO of a horse is a comic classic."
DAVID FLOOD, Saco, Maine

An important omission from your list was former Denver Nugget star Alex English in Amazing Grace and Chuck, an All-Star performance in an excellent movie.

You fail to mention an athlete who won an Academy Award for best actor. Victor McLaglen was a boxer of note, having met Jack Johnson for the world heavyweight championship in 1909. He fought Johnson to a six-round no-decision, but in 1935 he won an Oscar for his role in The Informer.

You did not include my favorite player/actor: Brian Bosworth as John Stone in Stone Cold. It was a great biker film with plenty of action, and Bosworth was very good.
LEN MAIOLATESI, Jarrettsville, Md.

You left out a football player at USC, Marion Morrison, who made a few movies under the name John Wayne.
ROBERT J. PARKS, Oscoda, Mich.

You omitted the most successful athlete-turned-movie-star of them all, Sonja Henie, who won gold medals in three Olympics and went on to star in a dozen Hollywood movies.

How about Julius Erving as Moses Guthrie in The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh?
JOHN MCBRIDE, Fort Dodge, Iowa

•Dr. J also makes a cameo appearance in Philadelphia, the current movie starring Tom Hanks.—ED.



McLaglen (left) won for The Informer.



Henie became a major film star.

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