RAVES FOR A BRAVE
After living in Buffalo all my life, I am convinced of the city's devotion to professional sports. And I'm very grateful that you have seen fit to give Randy Smith the national attention he has so long deserved (Now Randy Is a Dandy, March 31). For four years Buffalo basketball fanatics have watched their hero rise from the small-college ranks to stardom in the NBA. John Papanek has done justice to an athlete who has run circles around Walt Frazier, Jo Jo White and all the other super guards in the league. During a year in which the Braves have lost two starting forwards and a starting guard to injury or illness, Smith has been the sparkplug in a sometimes sluggish offense. The name Randy Smith means electricity. Buffalo has always known it; now the world knows.
I have been associated with athletics at Buffalo State College and a follower of the Braves since their entry into the league, and after seeing Randy play for a total of seven years, I have yet to tire of watching him. He shows a new move almost every time he walks onto the basketball court.
If memory serves, you once listed Randy Smith in FACES IN THE CROWD (Feb. 1, 1971). He is no longer a face in the crowd.
Sports reporting has drastically changed over the years, as shown by your willingness to expose the fact that Randy Smith's mother is living on welfare. Like it or not, today's athlete lives in a fishbowl; the fan wants an insight into the athlete beyond the arena. Congratulations on a fine story.
New York City
Congratulations on a fabulous article on the AIAW Tournament (New Era for Delta Dawns, March 31). Those of us who are Delta State Lady Statesmen fans have been waiting all year for this tournament, because we knew that the girls could win the whole thing. We are very proud of Coach Margaret Wade's team. We believe next year SI should run more articles on women's basketball. If you have never seen a game in person, you do not know what you are missing. These girls really hustle.
You did it again, and again you are to be commended. Sarah Pileggi's article on the AIAW national basketball tournament was excellent. It had style, journalistic sophistication and really portrayed the thrill and excitement of the entire tournament (I was there).
When sports historians record the successful beginning of women's intercollegiate athletics in America, they will surely note the significant contribution of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS
On March 24, the morning of the Ali-Wepner fight, the postman here in Luxembourg delivered my copy of your March 24 issue. I was anxious to see what Mark Kram had to say in his preview (They Have Kept Him in Stitches). A young Luxembourgian secretary in our office was looking over my shoulder as I removed the mailing wrapper, revealing a profusely sweating Chuck Wepner on the cover. I found it somewhat prophetic when she asked in stone-faced seriousness, "Why is this man crying?"
MARK S. KRAMER
I congratulate Ron Reid on his article Jipcho Was Socko (March 31). Ben Jipcho was far and away the star of the meet. I feel, though, that the meet would have been a success even without his outstanding performances in the mile and two mile. Anytime top athletes compete there are bound to be many fans who will pay just to see them give everything they've got.
Thanks for the excellent perceptions concerning the Los Angeles pro track meet.