If the Detroit Pistons (Moaning and Winning in Motown, Feb. 28) are typical of players in the NBA, the sport is in sad shape. You quote Marvin Barnes as saying, "I got to get my 30. My fans be demanding it." I think most fans come to see the game played by professionals, not a one-man talking machine trying to score 30 points a game. The picture of Kevin Porter sulking on the bench told the whole story. Even if the Pistons are in second place in their division and have the seventh best record in the NBA, they have to rank last in class.
The Pistons really are a delight on the court. However, the way certain players complain is ridiculous. The team's goal is to win, and Coach Herb Brown is accomplishing this. After observing pitiful performances by other Detroit teams this past year, I'd say a winning team is more than welcome here.
Traverse City, Mich.
Unbelievable! Detroit General Manager Oscar Feldman says, "Most of the players have no-cut multi-year contracts. Why they can't be happy in winning whether they make a contribution or not is beyond me."
Every player who has the good fortune of reaching the NBA has paid a price to get there. These players have made sacrifices that others with similar talents have not made. If it is Feldman's belief that recognition and the exercising of the skills that these players have perfected are not important to them, he should be running a kindergarten tiddly-winks tournament, not a professional basketball team. Come on, Oscar. Professional athletes are competitors, not contented bench-warmers, regardless of their income.
MICHAEL F. MANORE
Fort Wayne, Ind.
With four excellent guards (Eric Money, Kevin Porter, Chris Ford and Ralph Simpson) what else can Herb Brown do? He can't play them all at the same time.
If the Pistons would stop fighting and start playing together, they would have a good chance of taking a championship.
ON THE OREGON TRAIL
UCLA's trip to the Willamette Valley was certainly a tough one (On the Trip to the Pit the Bruins Got Bit Feb. 28), but it was not their toughest of the year. The Bruins were not awesome in Washington a week before the Oregon excursion. Up in Pullman on Thursday night they fought for their lives before pulling out a 65-62 win over Washington State, a much harder contest than their 89-76 romp over Oregon State. Then they came here to Seattle on Saturday. Feb. 12 and the Washington Huskies dealt them a 78-73 defeat.
If you think Washington rarely defeats UCLA, recall 1975, in Hec Edmundson Pavilion, when John Wooden suffered his last loss as a Bruin coach. The score? An amazing 103-81.
How could you forget so soon? Larry Keith states, "No one can recall when UCLA last scored only 18 points in a 20-minute period. Or when the Bruins so completely lost control of a game."
One need only go back to last year's game at Pauley Pavilion between these two teams, the one that ended the Bruins' 98-game home winning streak. The Ducks held UCLA to 14 points in the first half. Furthermore, the final score of 65-45 shows that the Bruins never had control.