SI Vault
Edited by Robert Creamer
August 24, 1970
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
August 24, 1970


View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue









No. California




So. California










Kansas City











Whenever in doubt, the National Basketball Association substitutes quantity for quality—more games, more teams. Now the NBA has announced that its All-Star Game this year will feature 14-man rosters. In a sport where coaches have trouble finding playing time for more than eight men, this creates a truly impossible situation. The NBA, like other major sports, denies fans the right to see the genuinely best players by demanding that all teams in the league be represented by at least one player. With 14-man rosters chock full of expansion rinky-dinks, fans will not be paying to see an All-Star Game but a House of Representatives.

There are plenty of good alternatives. The simplest would be two 10-man rosters—the best 10, no matter who they play for—head to head, best vs. best. Or go the other way, and have four conference All-Star squads (the league is set up with four groups now) playing a two-night All-Star series. Either way, hard competition would be restored. If the NBA must, however, go with its unwieldy 14-man telephone-book team, it ought to consider a simple suggestion by Atlanta Coach Richie Guerin. He proposes that an extra, fifth quarter be added to the game. The ersatz expansion All-Stars could play one quarter while even one went out and got hot dogs, and then the real All-Stars could go at it for a regular 48 minutes.


A place called Tigertops, a luxurious camping-out spot in Nepal, is offering jaded travelers the Elephant Ring (four days: $595 each, $1,100 a couple), a jungle thrill show in which tourists pursue tigers while "mounted on very secure staunch shikar howdah elephants for their safety." Dozens of elephants form a large circle and gradually move in, tightening the ring around whatever animals, including tigers, are inside. "The heart-bursting excitement can continue for over an hour," Tigertops promises. "As the ring closes, only the mighty Nepal tiger is allowed to remain inside. Backwards and forwards the tiger charges, striving to find an escape through the ring to a pandemonium of men shouting and elephants trumpeting, thumping the ground with their trunks and even occasionally, when directly attacked, turning and bolting in terror while other elephants nearby press in to reclose the ring." The tiger is eventually allowed to escape—"No shooting of game is allowed at Tigertops"—after having had the living hell scared out of him.

The Elephant Ring seems to have all the taste and perception of a demolition derby, with one added vulgarity. Tigertops promises that "bar elephants will be provided in the jungle for your refreshment and agile bar boys will deliver your choice of drinks, often jumping from elephant to elephant in the process." Wow.


Derek (Turk) Sanderson, the colorful, controversial center of the Boston Bruins, has been in a contract hassle with the Bruins' management. His salary the past three seasons has been $10,000, $12,000 and $14,000, and Sanderson says that even after the Bruins' Stanley Cup triumph the club has offered him only a $4,000 raise, to $18,000 a year. Boston newspapers have raised a great flap about Derek's "peon's wages," so much so that Weston Adams Jr., son of the majority stockholder of the Bruins, came out publicly and said that Sanderson last year made a total of not $14,000 but $36,000. The player's base pay was $14,000, Adams said, but all members of the club earned a $1,000 bonus from the front office for finishing second in regular-season play, and the Bruins gave Sanderson an added personal bonus of $11,000. He received another $1,250 from the league for his team's second-place finish and $8,750 for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Total: $36,000.

"It has never been the club's policy to disclose salaries," Adams said, "but we feel that it is necessary in this case. We'd like to clear the air. We feel the best way is to release the actual figures, and these are honest ones." He did not deny that the contract Sanderson has received for 1970-71 calls for $18,000.

Sanderson's attorney, Bob Woolf, commented, "The average hockey player does as well financially as the average pro athlete elsewhere, but men in their early years do not and neither do the superstars. There is nobody in the National Hockey League making $100,000, although there are 13 players in the National Basketball Association at that figure. In hockey $50,000 is considered extremely big money."

Continue Story
1 2 3