However, I would like to clear up a misunderstanding that has grown out of one of your statements; namely, that the NCAA reneged "apparently because an AAU-approved group was the selecting agency." While it is true that the AAU does sanction the Maccabiah Games and our selection committee, we have never called upon the AAU for any assistance in making our team selections. A number of coaches misread your article and erroneously assumed that that was the reason the NCAA did not sanction our team.
I am the national basketball chairman of the U.S. Committee, Sports for Israel, which sponsors the U.S. team in the World Maccabiah Games. My committee consists of former collegiate and professional basketball players. With the able assistance of Nat Holman, Roy Rubin (coach of Long Island University) and Herb Brown (formerly of Stony Brook), we selected the 12 players who made up our squad. A total of 52 boys paid their own way to try out for the U.S. team. We feel the NCAA should give us the same consideration they give to the Olympics and Pan American Games.
Thirty countries and 1,500 athletes competed in the World Maccabiah Games, so let's give our athletes who are selected the honor that is due them.
New York City
Rod Laver's Grand Slam is the greatest sports feat of the year, if not of the decade. I ask SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to overlook the Namaths, the Russells, the Espositos and everyone else and to make Rod Laver the Sportsman of the Year.
My nomination for Sportsman of the Year is Gil Hodges, for proving conclusively—Hawk Harrelson notwithstanding—that nice guys do finish first.