PORTRAIT OF KNIGHT
John Feinstein's article on Indiana coach Bob Knight in your 1986-87 College Basketball special issue ("You Love Him, And You Hate Him", Nov. 19) was one of the best pieces I have ever read. I grew up surrounded by Indiana basketball. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends all attended Indiana and are all fanatics about Hoosier basketball. Knight might not get the job done in the prettiest way, but he definitely gets it done effectively. Feinstein is right in saying "You love him, and you hate him." I love to watch Knight coach, but his behavior tends to cause the public to lose respect for him.
Incidentally, how could you possibly rank Purdue ahead of Indiana?
Bob Knight has changed my view of basketball. Watching him coach at Indiana proved to me that aggressive man-to-man defense can be as exciting as 100-point games. He has shown, too, that a program with unyielding integrity can be a winning program. Unfortunately, he also has made players who love basketball fear the wrath of a man whose mood swings exceed those of my two-year-old.
There are printable words that apply to Bob Knight's behavior: shocking, scandalous, contemptible, despicable, disgusting and loathsome!
Bravo! As a 6-foot, high school guard, I applaud Jack McCallum's intriguing analysis The Incredible Shrinking Court (Nov. 3). I agree that increasing the size of the court and widening the three-second lane are much-needed changes in the NBA. While I enjoy dunks as much as the next guy, I like to see a little effort and imagination put into them. Big men have almost become the most important part of the game, but equally important is the passing that leads to the basket. A larger court would bring the game back to the guards, who, I feel, are the most talented players in the game.
McCallum makes a strong case for wide-open basketball. Just imagine great athletes like Julius Erving or Moses Malone playing in a fast-break league. This league might even consistently use the three-point shot to neutralize defenses. Wait a minute...wasn't that the ABA? Dust off the beach balls!
All the NBA game needs is some common sense. First, have all shots (including dunks) that are made in the lane count one point. Second, move the three-point line in to 20 feet. Third, legalize the zone defense or any defense a coach wants to employ. This will significantly diminish the role of the big man.
JERRY D. SMITH
One option that was not mentioned: Instead of altering the height of the basket, make contact with the rim a foul. This would force all players to "shoot" the ball instead of smashing it through the basket.
All those heavy thinkers overlook the most obvious, easiest solution. Have the officials call the game according to the rules as written. The game would open up again and be less like a rugby scrum.
JAMES E. ATKINSON
SPORTSMEN AND SPORTSWOMEN
My sporting cap is off to Bobby Rahal, Nigel Mansell, Pat Bradley, Don Mattingly, Larry Bird, Patrick Roy, Roger Clemens et al. They have each had a very good year. But in this reader's opinion, if Greg Norman is not your Sportsman of the Year—in every sense of the word—I believe an error in judgment will have been made.