Last week's double center jump by 7-foot Jim McDaniels and 6'11" Jim Chones (page 18) is merely the latest skirmish in the long basketball war between the NBA and ABA. The war has thrown the sport on both the college and pro levels into disarray and, sadly, no one seems to be doing anything about it. All the parties involved—coaches, players, owners, judges and politicians—are willing to talk, many of them loudly, but most of the rhetoric has been self-serving.
It is time for less bluster and more serious bargaining by all sides. "I'd like to see everyone—the NCAA, the pros and Senator Ervin's committee, which is holding the hearings on the merger legislation—get together and try to work out something, reach an agreement of some kind," said Houston Rockets General Manager Pete Newell. Newell's suggestion is fine, except he left out two important parties: the college players and the basketball fans. Any decision must take into account the individual rights of college athletes, as well as those already in the pros; and the bargainers must remember that the fans supply the money the owners, college administrators and players so hungrily pursue. Carolina fans, whose Cougars are battling for an ABA playoff spot, certainly have good reason to be angry at a sport that allows a player like McDaniels to switch teams in midseason. And the same goes for Marquette, whose hopes of a national championship were dashed by the pros' untimely signing of Chones.
Sure, give players like Chones and McDaniels the right to control their own destinies. And give the owners the right to drive their hardest bargains. But let it all be restricted to the off season when loyal, cash-paying fans will not be the victims of the haggling.
Having fun with the President's visit to China, newspaper columnist Art Hoppe invoked the reverse-clich� technique and did one of those looks at mysterious America from the point of view of a Chinese. In part he wrote: "Americans are generally docile, easily led, unthinking automatons.... Every morning they breakfast on a bowl of rice or wheat cereal and then trudge off to work in teeming masses.... They share a common dislike of thinking. For instance, their favorite occupation is watching football on television, for after each play the announcer explains to them what happened. Similarly, every time Chairman Nixon makes a speech, three men immediately appear on the screen to explain what he said."
Well, of course, it is all a terrible exaggeration.
Greenville, Texas, the town where Duane Thomas was stopped, searched and then arrested for possession of marijuana, is the county seat of Hunt County. The stationery of the Hunt County district clerk bears the slogan, "The Blackest Land and the Whitest People."
With no formal plot and a two-hour running time, the film American Wilderness, currently playing in theaters across the country, could be called a feature-length travelogue, but those who have seen it say it is much more. In its sweeping display of remote wilderness, it is an adventurer's film. In its stalk of trophy game, including the four wild mountain sheep that are American hunting's most coveted prizes, it is a sportsman's film. Mostly, in its salute to the natural glories still extant in this land, it is apparently a film for everyone.