Thanks to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Tom Brody for the concise and accurate preview of the first American Basketball Association season (The ABA: Playing the Game Called Survival, Oct. 23). Mr. Brody gives no illusions of grandeur, but tells it like it is. The ABA is only as strong as the individuals who run it and who play in it.
One example of good management and good team performance (which result in great attendance) is in Indianapolis, where the Indiana Pacers play most of their home encounters. As Mr. Brody pointed out, few people worked as hard as General Manager Mike Storen and his staff to make the season's lid-lifter a success. Apparently, his efforts were not in vain.
Official attendance for the opener in the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum was given as 9,135 paid. Evidently this total was given to please the fire marshal. Actual attendance was well over that figure, which also does not include the 2,000 fans turned away at the gate. The start of the game was delayed half an hour in order to get everyone in. In Chicago only 2,234 were in attendance for the Bulls' home opener.
Was this just a flash in the pan in Indianapolis? No. Four days later 6,000 were on hand to watch the Pacers go 2-0 for the young ABA season. Whether the NBA realizes it or not, the ABA is for real.
Congratulations on your write-up about the American Basketball Association. On the road on business last week I happened to go to one of the ABA games. I did not expect much. To my surprise I found a better and more interesting game, many new faces and excellent players. I suddenly realized that I am tired of the same old NBA teams and have a new interest in the ABA. I hope they make it.
As an ardent Knick fan for many years, I have been through the gamut. How well I remember the blown 20-point leads, the humiliating romps, the 10-game losing streaks, the .250 finishes and the clowns who made it all possible. Frank Deford's article, New York Gets a Top Team at Last (Oct. 23), is an excellent assessment of today's Knicks, a team that will put pride in the hearts of its fans and coins in the pockets of Ned Irish. The only question that must be answered is, can Bill Bradley ever replace Ron Sobieszczyk?
Why did you do it? Why did you put the Knicks on your cover? Nothing worse could have happened to them. The Knicks have lost five out of six since your article came out. There's no telling what else can happen to them now.
Sea Cliff, N.Y.
Once Bill Bradley arrives from the service and gets in shape, the Knicks will even give Philadelphia a run for its money. All in all, it still looks like an exciting and adventurous season ahead for New York fans.
In his article on the New York Knicks, Frank Deford hinted that during the winter New York is a basketball town first and a hockey town second. Last year the Knicks averaged 11,500 people a game, while the Rangers were sold out (15,925) for almost every game. These attendance figures certainly do not support Mr. Deford's argument.
Incidentally, I was one of approximately 8,000 people who stood in line overnight for Ranger playoff tickets last year. After I got my tickets I went around the corner to see the line for Knick playoff tickets. There were no more than 200 people in line.