Many thanks for the excellent journey through the magnificent years of Muhammad Ali (The Ali Years, Dec. 20-27). Never before has any sportsman so affected a populace, one way or another. I'm not sure what the future holds for the "people's champion," but whatever it is, I'm with him all the way.
Your magazine transcends mere sports reporting. Images of Ali's past were masterfully evoked, especially in the passages by Mark Kram and George Plimpton. They show Ali to be not only a powerful and ingenious boxer, but also a man who, despite all his talents, is strangely vulnerable and very human. All in all, the article was a joyful reminder of the way Ali once fought and a sad reminder that, because of age and time, he no longer can.
As a Blazer fan and a Bill Walton admirer, I was naturally pleased with Curry Kirkpatrick's fine article (Healthy, Wealthy and Size Dec. 13). After two years of reading and hearing the worst about Walton, it was a pleasure to finally read something relevant and intelligent about the man. If all goes well for Bill, Portland could replace Golden State as the king of the Pacific Division.
Bill Walton has once again shown that he can dominate every basketball game he plays in. Besides scoring, rebounding and blocking shots, Walton does many other things that do not show up in statistics. It all adds up to his being one of the best all-round players in the history of the sport. It's also refreshing to see Walton's attitude change.
Yes, Bill Walton has finally straightened himself out. But let's give a little credit to Portland Coach Jack Ramsay. One player can't make a team. Ramsay has also done one heck of a job.
CLAUS P. LYONS
Hinton, W. Va.
One of your pictures of Bill Walton makes him look like a red-haired wolfman about to attack someone. All he needs is fangs.
San Mateo, Calif.
Lon Chaney lives!
You say, " Bill Walton has emerged as the best all-round basketball player in the world." That statement should have read "second-best all-round player." The best all-round player is in Los Angeles under the name of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
KING AND KONG
In your article on Kentucky basketball (The Kain-tuck-ee Jubilee. Dec. 20-27) you say that "officials tend to raise their arms and blow their whistles whenever they see King (Rick Robey) or Kong ( Mike Phillips) so much as breathe." After seeing these players in action, I can't help but feel that the officials' whistles are justified. It's sad to see a team excel by using force rather than talent. Is this the way Adolph Rupp taught the game? Certainly not. If these two players don't make it into professional basketball, I suggest they explore the heavyweight division of boxing.
New York City
Thank you for the article on the Bulls hockey team (Bullish Times in Birmin'ham. Dec. 13). The instant fan support for this "funny new game" merely proves that the great city of Birmingham is ready, and has been ready, for sound professional sports.