RUSSELL VS. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to differ with the caption on page 101 of the Feb. 22 issue (Where Are They?) that says, "[Bill] Russell often got the better of Wilt [Chamberlain], and the record book certainly is proof positive." The Philadelphia 76ers' statistical yearbook contains information to the contrary.
In the 142 times they faced each other, Chamberlain scored 4,077 points for an average of 28.7 points per game, while Russell had 2,060 points for a 14.5-point average. The charts also show that Wilt grabbed 4,072 rebounds (28.7 average) compared with Russell's 3,373 rebounds (23.7 average). In the 142 games Chamberlain outscored Russell 131 times and outrebounded him 95 times.
It was against Russell on Nov. 24, 1960, that Wilt pulled down 55 rebounds, still the NBA record. Further, Wilt once scored 62 points against the great defender. The most points Russell ever scored against Wilt was 37. I think your caption should have said, "Russell rarely got the better of Wilt."
Director of Statistical Information
?Chamberlain did have the edge in individual stats. However, Russell led the Celtics to nine NBA championships between 1959-60, Wilt's rookie season, and 1968-69, Russell's last as a player. Chamberlain, who played for the Warriors, the 76ers and the Lakers, was on only one title team during those years—the '66-67 Sixers. Russell's team won 85 of the 142 games in which the two paired off.—ED.
I just finished Jack McCallum's article (Disorder on the Court, Feb. 8) on NBA violence. I wholeheartedly agree that a third official would decrease the violence. The problem is getting worse at all levels of basketball. In this era of the "no-call," I see high school, college and even grade-school games deteriorate from contact to more contact and finally to punches. I blame officials at all levels for allowing this to happen.
In "Crime on the Court" (Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 92, No. 2, 1984), economists Robert E. McCormick and Robert D. Tollison of Clemson University (Tollison is now here at George Mason University) applied to basketball the theory that crime can be explained in economic terms and asked, "What happens to the arrest rate when the number of law enforcers increases?" Their study concerned the Atlantic Coast Conference, which increased the number of basketball referees from two to three, beginning with its 1978-79 postseason tournament. They found that in ACC postseason play through '83, a 50% increase in referees resulted in 34% fewer fouls than occurred in postseason conference tournaments from 1954 through 1978.
Executive Vice President
Institute for Humane Studies
George Mason University
Jack McCallum makes no mention of the increased incidence of intentional fouls committed against a player while he's about to make a dunk or an easy layup. The offended player gets only two free throws, and his team retains the ball. A better deterrent would be to award the shooter two points for making the first foul shot and one for converting the second, thus making the offense a possible three-point infraction. An alternative would be to count the basket—just as happens with goaltending—and to give one or two shots at the foul line.
JAMES E. GARRETSON
MARINOVICH & SON
After finishing the tragic story of U.S. Olympic skater Dan Jansen (Felled by a Heavy Heart, Feb. 22), I turned to the more uplifting—or so I thought—piece on schoolboy quarterback Todd Marinovich (Bred To Be a Superstar). In the end I felt just as much sorrow for Marinovich as I did for Jansen. His father's obsession with developing the boy's football skills seems to have deprived Todd of a normal childhood, and to what end? To make him a superjock with an outside chance of becoming one of 28 NFL starting quarterbacks? My advice to Todd is this: Have some fun in college; it's your last shelter from the real world.
It's hard to find a more football-oriented household than mine. My father played for the University of Delaware and is now an NCAA referee as well as a timekeeper for the Giants. I have played for 10 years—from Pop Warner to Middlebury College, where I am a sophomore—but my father has never pressured me or dictated my training. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. It's too bad there are washed-up "marginal pros" like Marv Marinovich who appear to be basking, at the expense of a child, in a glory they never attained.