I have been a diligent SI follower for years, but I cannot remember a better feature than the Oct. 28 one on pro basketball, especially John Underwood's article on John Havlicek (The Green Running Machine). Being a New Yorker temporarily displaced in Massachusetts, I know what Hondo is. He is the man all Knick fans hate, despise and fear; but at the same time we all respect him. He is a fan's ballplayer, giving 110% all the time. Players like Havlicek make basketball what it is today—No. 1.
RICHARD D. GOLDSTEIN
What more can be said about Hondo than that he is the best player in NBA history? Defensively, offensively and off the court as well, he is a perfect example of what every person playing basketball longs to be.
Sugar Notch, Pa.
John Havlicek epitomizes Boston Celtic basketball. However, let's not confuse him with Billy Graham. Despite Coach Bobby Knight's convenient little story, the real reason for Indiana's consolation-game victory over Providence in the 1973 NCAA basketball tournament was not John Havlicek's high-powered 20-word exhortation, but Marvin Barnes' injured knee.
Sea Girt, N.J.
I resent John Underwood's statement that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be replaced in the future, whereas there will never be another John Havlicek. Kareem is the greatest player the game has ever known. He will never be replaced or duplicated.
How about this for a super new cereal with more energy than Wheat Chex, Rice Chex, Corn Chex or anything else? Call it Havlicek's. It would be No. 1, just like Hondo.
MRS. LEO R. POKORNY
Lawton, Ok la.
BEATING THE 3-8
Jim Plunkett's is the latest voice to call for abolition of the 3-8 defense (SCORECARD, Oct. 28). Admittedly this sophisticated defense limits the capabilities of even a brilliant passer like Mr. Plunkett. But instead of banning the defense, why not open the offense even further by designating tackles as eligible pass receivers?
On obvious passing downs, sure-handed tight ends and backs would play out of the tackle positions. Since on third and 20 the defense is already thinking pass, the element of surprise is negated. The center, guards and blocking back should be able to handle the blocking, and the eligible tackles could make quick blocks before running their patterns. The quarterback should thus receive adequate protection, considering that it should take him less time to find an open man among the increased number of receivers.
The eligible tackle would really open up the passing game, providing for seven receivers and eight potential scorers. The sophisticated 3-8 defense and the zone defenses would have to undergo some changes. But this would not give an overwhelming advantage to the offense. A strong but iron-handed tackle would still have a better chance of blocking a Claude Humphrey or a Carl Eller. Yet the provision for an eligible tackle would be most useful on long yardage. Even if the eligible tackles weren't used as primary receivers, they still would allow the elusive wide receivers to break free.
DAVID A. GAMBILL
For Sportsman of the Year,
All must now agree:
There's no better choice
Than Muhammad Ali.
Re your article on Sonny Jurgensen (Ancient Age and His Pal Whisky, Oct. 28), it's about time he got credit for his efficiency and accuracy throughout his 18 years of pro football. Having Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer as No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks is one of the best setups in NFL history.