HOOPS AND HOLLERS
Regarding your pro basketball preview (Oct. 16), I must take exception to your "Three Clubs vs. One Kneecap" heading for the NBA Atlantic Division, and the "Super Division" classification for the NBA West. The Boston Celtics already have proved the absurdity of these claims.
The Celtics, with the acquisition of Paul Silas (worth much more to Boston than Charlie Scott), are able to beat any team in the league, including New York, regardless of the status of Willis Reed's knee. To substantiate this, one need only look at Boston's first-week victories over Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, the "Super Division" powerhouse. In the victory over the Lakers (On Time But Not in Tune, Oct. 23), Dave Cowens and Silas teamed for 33 rebounds.
Your cover should have depicted a player from the team that has always espoused teamwork, i.e., the Boston Celtics, rather than Wilt Chamberlain. Please pass the word: the Celtics are back.
ALAN D. PERRAULT
I question your choice of the Kentucky Colonels to come out on top in the ABA East. The Colonels are not as good as everybody seems to think. They proved that last year in the playoffs when they were blown off the court by the New York Nets.
Rick Barry is, in my opinion, the best forward in pro basketball today, and the Nets will indeed miss him. However, the maturing of John Roche and the acquisition of Jim Chones should outweigh Rick's leaving. Roche became a star in his own right in the playoffs, and he and Bill Melchionni make up the best backcourt combination in the league. Tom Washington is a proven defensive forward, especially considering the job he did on Dan Issel last year. There is no way in the world the Nets can fail this year.
Valley Stream, N.Y.
Rick Barry is the best forward in the pros. In your Oct. 16 SCORECARD column, you said Franklin Mieuli, owner of the Golden State Warriors, was taking a chance by getting Barry from the Nets, instead of giving him up for $1 million, because of Rick's fragile knees. Well, Barry has won scoring titles in both pro leagues. He has averaged 30.5 points a game in his career and, with him, as you will find out, the Warriors will win the NBA title. If it were not for Mark Spitz winning seven gold medals in the Olympics, I would nominate Rick Barry for Sportsman of the Year.
CHARLTON L. CUMMINGS
La Follette, Tenn.
Re Ilie Nastase (Bad Is Beautiful, Oct. 16), there is a difference between the "badness" of Joe Namath, Muhammad Ali, Derek Sanderson et al. and that of Nastase. The former are notorious for their activities off the playing field. If they do commit any of Nastase's "an-ee-mal" antics during the game, they are subject to penalties, fines and even suspension.
Not only does Nastase get away with his puerile behavior but, mainly because of it, he is now being touted by the nation's top sports magazine as "just the person needed" to catapult tennis into "total public acceptance and the big time."
I didn't know tennis was that desperate!
Hey, babee, nice article you write about Nasty. Curry Kirkpatrick is to be commended for a story as colorful and provocative as the new clown prince of tennis. Well done.