One of the best examples of Doug Collins's altruism came when he was playing for the Sixers during the 1977--78 season: He relinquished his starting spot in the NBA All-Star Game to retiring Celtics legend John Havlicek. For Collins to give up that type of spotlight to a rival Celtics player showed a great amount of class and dedication to the spirit of good sportsmanship.
John Molori, Methuen, Mass.
Thank you for your article on Collins and what he has done for the 76ers (Sixer Fixer, April 11). After years of watching Philadelphia struggle, I now actually enjoy watching the team on the court. My favorite part of the game is when the buzzer sounds and Collins embraces his players. The care he has for these guys is clearly evident, in both victory and defeat.
Chris Zirpoli, Riverside, N.J.
Collins was a great basketball player, and he's a tremendous coach today. However, for me he set the gold standard in his career at the microphone. He was by far the best color commentator I've heard in any sport. When he was analyzing a game, I often found myself following what he was saying more closely than the action on the court.
Peter Anderson Willow Park, Texas
The Great DH Debate
From the moment the designated hitter rule (Going, Going ... Gone?, April 11) went into effect in 1973, I have always thought it was an abomination. Now that we know that even the players who are assigned to DH don't like it, it's time to drive a stake through this folly forever. Let's go back to the roots of baseball, when managers actually had to use some strategy and pitchers had to play on both sides of the plate.
Robert Forman, New York City
Aside from the fact that it allows aging and immobile power hitters to continue their careers, the true value of the designated hitter is that it eliminates baseball's worst moment at the plate: watching pitchers swing the bat.
Scott Keeney, Albany, Ore.
While I enjoyed your article on the potential demise of the designated hitter, I have to question your statistical analysis of players who went from batting and playing in the field to strictly being a DH. Your premise is that players hit better and have higher numbers when they both hit and play defense. The problem is that most of the players cited (Vladimir Guerrero, Johnny Damon, Jim Thome, etc.) moved to the DH role in the latter part of their careers. I think age and the resulting decrease in bat speed and reflexes are the determining factors here, not the switch to DH.
Rob Toeppner, Erin, Ont.
Kudos to Tim Layden for his great article on the NCAA men's basketball final (UConn's Drive to Survive, April 11). I appreciated that Layden did not dwell on the poor shooting by both teams, as most analysts and announcers did after the game. Rather, he outlined UConn's phenomenal defense, which played a huge factor in why Butler couldn't make a shot. Jim Calhoun was able to convince his young Huskies that they would need to match Butler's own nonstop, aggressive defense if they had any shot at a victory, and it worked. I hope we'll see a return to this type of dedication to defense that coach John Wooden made instrumental to college basketball.
Ronald R. Besel, Indianapolis
No doubt, Kemba Walker is an amazing talent and a great leader on the court. His dedication and hard work to ensure that he graduates in three years are commendable. However, what I find troubling is Walker's admission that a book he recently finished was the first one he ever read cover to cover. This is a sad testimony to the level of education that universities with high-profile athletic programs such as UConn provide. Its 31% graduation rate for their men's basketball team is a disgrace.
Steve Gerber, South Bend, Ind.
University of Greed
I always enjoy Phil Taylor's columns, but his recent How Low Can You Go (POINT AFTER, April 11) was especially good. The pressure to win in big-time college sports is understandable; however, I find it tragic how much unethical and illegal activity is overlooked by the NCAA just so it can continue to pull in large sums of money. Thanks for taking a topic that is disheartening for true sports fans and addressing the issue with some humor.
Dick Weatherford Fort Mill, S.C.
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