The story on Ralph Sampson was a much appreciated look at a very talented but much maligned young man. Sampson has been a winner at every level at which he has played. Each year only one team can claim a championship, and until the Rockets acquire a proven playmaking guard, they will be hard-pressed to win the NBA title. Why should Sampson carry the brunt of a "choker" label? What Wilt Chamberlain was to the '60s and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was to the '70s, Sampson is destined to be to the '80s—the dominant big man, but one who, alone, could not win championships. Bill Russell won many championships against Chamberlain because he was surrounded by great team players. When Chamberlain was teamed with Jerry West, Gail Goodrich & Co. in 1972, the Lakers ruled. The same thing happened with Kareem—first with Oscar Robertson and the Bucks in 1971, then later with Magic Johnson, James Worthy and the Lakers. I suggest we wait a few years to judge Sampson. Matched with Akeem Olajuwan and a guard to get them the ball, he and the Rockets could reign the rest of the decade—as a team.
In his story on the U.S. women's volleyball team (Get The Net, It's Time For Follyball! Sept. 22), Bruce Newman hits Terry Liskevych below the belt when he states that Liskevych prepared for his national coaching position by playing volleyball for the Ukrainian Boy Scouts of Chicago. Newman makes no mention of Liskevych's highly successful coaching experience at Pacific University and, prior to that, his coaching at Ohio State, where he brought the Buckeyes national recognition. As mentioned in the article, the 1984 Olympic team played together for seven years under Arie Selinger before winning the silver medal in Los Angeles. Liskevych has had to begin with a completely new group of women and has been the coach for only two years. The coaching tactics of Selinger were repugnant and dehumanizing and do not deserve any praise.
BRUCE L. BENNETT
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
U.S. women's volleyball coach Terry Liskevych has a bad case of Selingeritis, and the only cure is permanent retirement.
Hang in there, Paula Weishoff!
NANCY M. McCRORY
Thanks to E.M. Swift for writing what I have been thinking since Greg LeMond started his whining about Bernard Hinault during this summer's Tour de France (Stop The Worlds, He Wants To Get Off, Sept. 15). It's a shame to see someone with LeMond's talent act like such a wimp. I hope he will soon grow up and become the great champion he can be.
Let me offer a different side of Greg LeMond than was presented by the media covering the Tour de France and the Coors Classic and by your own E.M. Swift, to whom LeMond is a "world-class whiner." Within 24 hours after the Worlds. LeMond was in Seattle to participate in a race as a favor to a friend of his who is a paraplegic. Prior to the race LeMond talked easily with me and other riders while signing every conceivable object there is to autograph. Two miles into the race he went down in a crash of more than a dozen riders. His right hand was gashed, and he dropped out with a broken wheel. Nonetheless, more than 45 minutes after the race ended LeMond was still near the finish line talking to every fan who approached him. I was not in France this summer and I was not in Colorado for the Worlds. However, what I saw in Seattle was anything but a whiner.
In your article on "Texotics" (Where The Deer And The Greater Kudu Play, Sept. 8), the following sentence caught my attention: "...hunters from all over the world come to shoot trophy specimens—usually aging males past their prime as breeding stock." The description after the dash could be applied equally well to most of the hunters themselves. This may go a long way toward explaining why they kill animals they do not eat and display parts of the carcasses on their walls.
AS A PUBLIC SERVICE
Help! Along with Paul Zimmerman's article on Jim Kelly's debut with the Buffalo Bills (A New Namath, But With Knees, Sept. 15), you published a photo of a banner proclaiming KELLY is GOD. I was included in the picture, sitting behind the banner. Though I was flattered to be in the photo, it is causing me much controversy because I am the most avid New York Jets fan in the world today. Please understand that I did not put the banner up, nor do I agree with it by any means. I beg you, please help clear my name.
FOR WANT OF A SPOON
When I was 16 my father bought me a set of used golf clubs at a dollar a club. The set included a 7� iron, and the woods weren't numbered, they were named: Driver (No. 1), Brassie (No. 2) and Spoon (No. 3). Now, 22 years later, I'm reading and enjoying Roy Blount Jr.'s article about my favorite place in the whole world, Callaway Gardens (The Game That Done Him Wrong, Sept. 8), and I see an illustration for the lyric "...a nine-iron, a driver and a spoon" that shows three mangled golf clubs on the 18th green. However, only one is a wood (probably the driver). Your illustrator, Ed Renfro, needs some history lessons on golf clubs; he obviously thinks that a spoon is some kind of iron.
Judging from my last name you might think I'm a helluva golfer, but if my folks could have renamed me after seeing me play, my first name would be Three.