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Edited by Gay Flood
September 01, 1986
WILT AT 50Sir: Frank Deford's article (Doing Just Fine, My Man, Aug. 18) provides some long overdue insights into Wilt Chamberlain's lack of acceptance by both the media and fans during his playing career.
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September 01, 1986

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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Just as I was getting ready to write a letter chastising him for not knowing that Wilt scored his 100 points in Hershey, Pa., not at New York's Madison Square Garden, Deford springs that fact on the reader on the very last page. A truly fine piece of writing. Frank, the way you tell a story and use the English language astonishes and entertains me beyond my wildest dreams.
Stone Mountain, Ga.

Curry Kirkpatrick's article McCrazy Days In Vermont (Aug. 18) was perfect. Some people may enjoy witnessing John McEnroe's tantrums on the court, but there are those of us who would prefer to watch a tennis match. Is McEnroe serious when he asks for "help and understanding"? Really, John! And I would like to know how Boris Becker has been "pampered." He is a deserving winner, and so is Ivan Lendl.
Scottsdale, Ariz.

John McEnroe is the most arrogant and insensitive person in sports today. He says, "I'm not being welcomed back with open arms." What a laugh. Did McEnroe ever think of offering a little respect and understanding to his fellow man? If he ever does, it is possible that he will receive the understanding he is seeking. If I were a linesperson or sitting in the chair, I wouldn't stand for the verbal abuse he dishes out.
Mechanicville, N.Y.

Kirkpatrick's criticism of McEnroe was in poor taste. This isn't the Soviet Union, where athletes have to look the same and act the same, or else. Let McEnroe be McEnroe.

McEnroe's style of intimidation is supposed to bother you. One does not intimidate an opponent by being cheerful and friendly.

McEnroe has given to tennis more than he'll ever receive in return. We should step back and feel privileged to be able to watch one of the greatest players (if not the greatest) who ever lived. Kirkpatrick is the one who doesn't have a clue.
Worthington, Ohio

Frank Deford's story about Leni Riefenstahl (The Ghost Of Berlin, Aug. 4) is a classic. Riefenstahl obviously is still beautiful, active and full of energy. I looked up my 1936 diary. Aug. 1-16, for my notes on the time I was in Berlin to see the Olympics. My father, Bill Henry, was the IOC representative to the Berlin Games on behalf of the 1932 Olympics of Los Angeles. We saw Riefenstahl as she photographed Olympia.

However, I did not see the film until 1983, when it was shown at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles. It was fantastic sitting there and remembering the actual events. Cornelius Johnson had been a student at Los Angeles High School with me when he took fourth in the 1932 high jump, so my family and I watched his every move in Berlin as he jumped 2.03 meters (almost 6'8") to set an Olympic record. My father used to say that Hitler congratulated the Germans who won the shot put and javelin that day, then left the stadium. The high jump went on and on, and when Johnson finally won. Hitler was not in the stadium.

Dad always maintained that if Hitler snubbed any black U.S. champion, it was Corney Johnson.
Los Angeles

In his otherwise fine article Deford makes, in the view of this reader, the rather absurd claim that Riefenstahl was "arguably the finest director of her time...."

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