POLITICS vs. PRINCIPLES
The haranguing over the summer Olympics, much of it pompous or hypocritical, does not abate, and it is evident that political leaders have settled on sport as a propitious terrain for the advancement of their theories and ambitions. More and more across the world is heard the cry that the Games should be boycotted because of the readmission of South Africa, and with increasing sharpness comes the retort that progress has been made because the South Africans will have met Olympic requirements by sending an integrated team.
Avery Brundage, as William Furlong reports in his story beginning on page 18, is standing on well-established Olympic tradition, although the pressures are getting to him. Brundage is charged with failing to be a man of the times, as if that were a crime, but the accusation—even if true—may be less derogatory than its formulators intend.
Certainly it would be wrong for the U.S. to support the boycott. We did not boycott the Games in Hitler's Berlin in 1936, and since then we have usually thought it beneficial to compete with Soviet Russia and other Communist countries which had or have tyrannical regimes repugnant to most Americans. If the Russians and other Iron Curtain nations, for reasons of political expediency, decide to boycott in sympathy with the African nations that are pulling out, there is no doubt the Games will be seriously vitiated.
Finally, who knows, if American Negroes join the boycott, it might be that the only blacks in Mexico City would be the South Africans, on whose behalf all the fuss is being made. The incongruity of such a climax would somehow be all too relevant to this ludicrous mess.
THE RECORD MAKERS
From time to time there are angry protests from NBA teams and players about the official scoring system in the league. It is decidedly bush, with home-town favoritism blatantly evident in the recording of individual statistics. The NBA Guide, for instance, lists 23 rebounding performances of 40 rebounds or more in a game. Just one of these records was made without the benefit of a home-town statistician. Similarly, only one of the top 36 assist marks was made on the road.
A classic scoring goof was made in a 76er-Bullet game two years ago when the official box score credited Gerry Ward with one field goal in no attempts (1 for 0). There was also the time that Hal Greer took six shots in a game and made seven of them, according to the stat men. And at half time in the All-Star game in January, Greer was credited with making two baskets but only taking one shot.
In a recent game in Evansville, Ind. between Chicago and St. Louis the official scorer recorded only three assists for the Hawks' Len Wilkens, who tops the league in that category. This led to immediate retribution when the Bulls visited St. Louis. At half time a Chicago official complained to Hawks General Manager Marty Blake that the Bulls' Jim Washington had been credited with only two rebounds. Blake replied, " Washington will get another rebound when Wilkens gets an assist in Evansville."
Currently Wilt Chamberlain is leading the league in complaining about statistics, and probably with good reason. Philadelphia Statistician Harvey Pollack is one of the few well-regarded scorers in the NBA. He won't favor anyone, including Wilt, but he thinks Chamberlain probably has a valid complaint. To check for himself, Pollack decided two Sundays ago to keep his own box score as he watched the telecast of a game between the 76ers and the Hawks in St. Louis. The official statistics showed Wilkens with 13 assists and Chamberlain with four. Pollack, however, credited eight to Wilkens and nine to Chamberlain. "I knew it was coming," Pollack said, "because Chamberlain was catching Wilkens in total assists."