BASKETBALL ISSUE: OPPORTUNISTS
We are taking this opportunity to heartily congratulate you for the truly outstanding basketball edition of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SI, Dec. 8), in which you covered the college game so well and so completely.
W. R. SCHROEDER
Helms Athletic Foundation
BASKETBALL ISSUE: A GAME FOR THE BIRDS?
Shirley Povich's article, Basketball Is for the Birds, was very much out of place.
It's amazing how basketball baiters so loosely charge any tall hoopster with being a goon. If Mr. Povich ever elects to attend a game, he will quickly realize that today's Bill Russells, Bob Pettits, Kenny Sears, etc. are universally admired for their gracefulness, rather than known for the awkwardness that was associated with their predecessors of 15 to 20 years ago. Furthermore, not every fellow who plays basketball today is a giant, as evidenced by the game's No. 1 star Bob Cousy (6 feet 1), Slater Martin (5 feet 10), Larry Costello and many, many others.
Among his countless charges, Mr. Povich makes two unfair attacks against the rules and referees in particular. First, he says the officials blow their whistles too often and, secondly, they are actors. He attends games so rarely that he fails to realize that by the very nature of the uniform basketball is not supposed to be indoor football.
Mr. Povich expresses a desire to have the game revert to the day where "a game could be comfortably won by a team total of 26 points." How ridiculous can an "expert" become? In the days when a team won with 26 points, the losers usually got 19. This would give a total of 45 points for the game. Let's analyze this. Of these 45 points, it is safe to assume that 13 of the points came from the foul line, thus leaving 32 points, or 16 baskets, between the two teams. Since today's hoopsters cage about one-third of their shots, the players would attempt around 50 shots from the floor. Can anyone imagine an audience today sitting in on a contest where the likes of an Oscar Robertson or Bailey Howell would not take more than 50 shots in the course of 40 minutes of playing time?
WILLIAM G. MOKRAY
The Boston Celtics
Shirley Povich is so right! And I admire his guts for really speaking his mind.
There must be millions in this land of ours that would love to see some real basketball once again.
M. M. BARRY
Shirley Povich's Basketball Is for the Birds is for the birds.
THOMAS H. PEEBLES
Grosse Pointe, Mich.
His humour is that of an elderly elephant.
ROBERT J. DWYER