FEUD FOR THOUGHT
I would like to compliment William Leggett on his fine article, They Want at Each Other—Bad (Feb. 25). It brought out the tremendous rivalry between the greatest pro ball club ( Celtics) and its lesser adversary (Lakers). Like the Cooz said, "Just wait." Home court advantage against them or no, the Boston Celtics will still be the world champions.
New Bedford, Mass.
What has happened to the other teams in the NBA besides Boston and L.A.? Have they shriveled up and died? From your article it would appear so. Although Mr. Leggett wrote a stirring fiction story, I can hardly imagine all those things actually happening except in the movies.
For instance, taking nothing away from Jerry West, he's hardly the best defensive backcourt man in the league. Rebounding isn't all there is to defense, and West isn't the best rebounder anyway. Oscar Robertson has over 300 more, but Mr. Leggett probably doesn't even know who Robertson is, because he wasn't assigned to a Cincy game. Secondly, although Cousy is one of the best backcourt men in the league, the sad fact is that he is no longer as great as he was and it's about time someone admitted it. Of course, fact never seems to bother Mr. Leggett. There's still a chance for either of the two teams to get knocked off in the playoffs, and the "match of the century" may never come off. If so, you guys on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED are going to look pretty sick. It won't be the first time, nor the last.
De Witt, N.Y.
According to the figures put out by the NBA in 1962, West had 591 rebounds, and Oscar Robertson, the best all-round player in the NBA, had 985. Mr. Leggett should check records before delving into fantasies. Jerry West isn't enough of a basketball player to carry Robertson's traveling bag.
Mr. Leggett claims that Celtic Satch Sanders is "erratic." After 42 games this season Sanders has hit better than 45% of his shots, grabbed 305 rebounds (more than Heinsohn, who is taller) and handled 57 assists (best for Celtic forwards except Havlicek, who also plays guard). Satch also guards superstars like a tiger; ask Baylor, Arizin, Twyman, et al.
BIRT E. WAITE
I have been meaning to write you about your fine article on Associate Justice Whizzer White (A Modest All-America, Dec. 10). Many of us here at the Lovelace Foundation have known Whizzer well and read it with real pleasure and interest. We are especially interested because Whizzer's brother Sam, who is referred to in the article, has been director of research at the foundation for the last 15 years and is an international authority on effects of atomic blast.
W. RANDOLPH LOVELACE II, M.D.
FIVE AND TEN
Last year you had to retract your predictions and philosophies about Ohio State's basketball team and admit that Cincinnati was "No. 1, No. 1, No. 1." The clue to your mistake was quite simple. You were right in assuming that Ohio State's so-called "Fabulous Five" was tops on a manpower basis, but you overlooked the fact that Coach Taylor couldn't get the most out of them. Cincinnati's Ed Jucker simply outcoached Taylor, came up with a slick bunch of ball handlers and, unlike State, the Bearcats did not get rattled; in fact, their coolness and calmness were their main assets.
Another thing, you neglected to consider that the Big Ten, as a basketball league, is highly overrated. The Bucks were not used to playing top teams. This year, for instance, the Big Ten is miserably weak. Ohio State, with a most mediocre team, is vying for first solely because opposition within the league is pitifully weak. State's Gary Bradds, not a bad ballplayer, a real hustler, but most awkward and without any class, makes points because there isn't even one Terry Dischinger, one Walt Bellamy or any top player to stop him.
The Big Ten is tops on the gridiron, but its basketball leaves much to be desired.
?For SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S 1963 NCAA predictions, see page 24.—ED.