SPORTSMAN AND SPORTSWOMAN
I can't believe it. You blew the whole ball of wax in an Olympic year by naming John Who and Mrs. Women's Liberation as Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year (Dec. 25). And you did not enclose a couple of Alka-Seltzer tablets with each copy of your magazine to make it digestible for true sports fans. But those of us who follow sports realize that you could not really be serious, that it was just your way of slipping us an early April Fool for our 1972 Christmas present.
I think that on April 1 you should publish the true 1972 Sportsman and Sportswoman. The man would have to be Dan Gable, as he is the greatest winner since Bill Russell. And how about either Shane Gould or Olga Korbut (my choice) for Sportswoman of the Year? Billie Jean King? Ho, ho, ho!
George Allen says the name of the game is defense and concentration. You were strictly offensive.
We feel that the naming of John Wooden as Sportsman of the Year has to be considered one of the great blunders of all time. While it is true that Coach Wooden deserves sizable recognition for his great accomplishments at UCLA, we are unable to understand how you can honor him instead of the other greats, Bobby Fischer and Mark Spitz, who by themselves brought pride and prestige to the United States with their unprecedented achievements, and Jack Nicklaus, Wilt Chamberlain and Steve Carlton, who dominated their respective sports throughout the year.
Carlton, for example, had absolutely no assistance in attaining his glory with the hapless Philadelphia Phillies. Wooden, however, has had the tools necessary to win six straight NCAA championships (Kareem Abdul-Jab-bar, Sidney Wicks, Henry Bibby and Bill Walton). Surely, Wooden is our unanimous choice for Coach of the Year, but for Sportsman of the Year the others must definitely be considered first.
We do, however, agree with your selection of Billie Jean King as Sportswoman of the Year. Her actions both on and off the tennis court make her very worthy of this coveted honor.
Salt Lake City
You jest. Only one person deserved to be named Sportsman of the Year: Mark Spitz. No one else came close.
State College, Pa.
My compliments on the best possible selection of Sportsman of the Year. I have been an avid reader of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for quite a while and always hoped that you would recognize the greatest feat ever to be accomplished by an amateur coach and team.
There are hundreds of colleges in the U.S. today, yet John Wooden has won six straight basketball championships. This record is one of the most remarkable accomplishments in sports history. Mr. Wooden deserves to be ranked with the immortals.
Many sports fans will be disappointed that Mark Spitz, Wilt Chamberlain, Steve Carlton, Larry Brown or Joe Namath did not receive the award, but we all must look back. None of these has excelled as continuously as John Wooden.