JUST PLAIN BILL
Pat Putnam's article on Bill Walton (That's No Way to Talk to Teacher, Oct. 14), was unfair. It sounded as though Putnam actually expected Walton would be able to overpower Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
No veteran center has ever dominated Kareem, so how can anyone expect Walton, after only four pro exhibition games, to handle him?
It is going to take a long time before Bill Walton turns into a superstar. I hope the press doesn't judge him prematurely.
Being a Bill Walton admirer and a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hater, I predict that Walton will waltz away with the NBA's rookie honors and will outduel Abdul henceforth. Although such a matchup will highlight the coming NBA season, another confrontation will also prove noteworthy: Bill Walton vs. Tom Burleson. Unselfish and winning attitudes seem to be inherent qualities of redheaded centers. After all, isn't it Dave Cowens, and not Jabbar, who pivots the NBA champions? In time Big Bill will also hold that distinction.
GEORGE R. WOODS
Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
Pat Putnam's story on Walton and Abdul-Jabbar was one of the most sensitive and delightful I have read in a long time. Walton has another fabulous career waiting for him on the stage when he finishes with basketball. There has not been such a fiendish, Mephistophelian leer since the days of John Barrymore.
Bill Walton's attitude, personality and general way of life are already more professional than that of most established pros. Why do you continue to call him a student? He doesn't wear the clothes of a self-centered millionaire. He wants more out of life than money and prestige. Let me tell you, Bill Walton is sitting up there at the teacher's desk when class is in session on "How to be human and survive the NBA."
FOR SPORT'S SAKE
Bravo for your Oct. 14 SCORECARD item on South Africa and the Davis Cup. I always wondered why South African athletes should be punished for their government's political leaning, and I've finally found someone with courage enough to come out and say it.
J. A. RONDEAU
Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Congratulations to Dick Johnston for his superb article (The Men and the Myth, Oct. 14). Appealing to the hundreds of thousands of Americans interested in physical fitness, such an article was indeed long in coming but well worth the wait.
Johnston is to be commended for writing such an honest and unprejudiced account of the bodybuilding scene. I work out regularly with weights, and find the improvement in my health and overall appearance is worth the hours devoted to the iron game. Johnston captures this all so well.
PETER W. ROBERTS
Pompano Beach, Fla.
I refer to your article about Wilt Chamberlain, My Impact Will Be Everlasting, Oct. 7. Separate a child from the security and admiration of his contemporaries. Change the rules of a national sport to overcompensate for his talent. Editorially second-guess his wisdom and loyalty for not completing college to join a financially unsound black basketball team. Sell him from team to team and hire coaches that negate his main concentration, offensive basketball. Ignore the impact that his defensive skills have on the NBA record book.