SPIRIT OF '76
I totally agree with Curry Kirkpatrick about the 76ers (Good, But Why Not the Best?, March 21). I hope players and management read this article. Maybe then they can figure out what's gone wrong.
Lloyd Free's head is as big as Fitz Dixon's bank account!
DAVID J. SARTORY
East Norwich, N.Y.
The 76ers' problem is the same one the Los Angeles Lakers had nine seasons ago when they acquired Wilt Chamberlain from Philadelphia to go along with Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. Obviously the 76ers failed to get the message. The conflict of egos and lack of harmony and unity that kept the Lakers from winning the title in 1968-69 will do the same thing to this year's 76ers.
Unless Gene Shue starts acting like a coach and the players stop griping, they will win a lot of games but not the championship. Teamwork, discipline and hard work determine the finished product. Talent is just the raw material. A team wins championships when the above ingredients are added to the raw material.
I had to laugh when Shue said, "I've never had a job where my team stayed mediocre. They get good." With the players the 76ers have, my pet St. Bernard could coach them and they'd still win. The front office ought to tell the players to play basketball or quit. Then they should fire Shue and get a real coach.
If all Mix, Dawkins and Free want to do is complain, isn't it high time the 76ers get rid of them and find somebody who isn't interested in how many shots a game, but how many assists? Judging from their quotes, McGinnis and Collins have the right idea—play as a team and let Julius Erving be what he is, one of the greatest ever to play the game.
The 76ers are definitely exciting and flamboyant. They have had 28 sellouts on the road and nine at home.
Your story should have been on the New York Knicks. The Knicks are the team with the talent but not the winning record. New York has two fine guards, Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier, a great front line in Bob McAdoo, Spencer Haywood and Jim McMillian. The Knicks are the team to beat in 1977-78.
Saddle Brook, N.J.
LOWDOWN IN ATLANTA
Roy Blount's diagnosis of Atlanta's ailing sports franchises (Losersville, U.S.A.
, March 21) is right on the money. This city has been plagued too long by double-knit lintheads like Rankin Smith and Tom Cousins trying to cash in on the glamour and growth that marked professional athletics in the '60s.
I disagree, though, that racism underlies the Hawks' inability to draw. Cousins and friends have simply never put a winner in the Omni, and the remarkable increase at the turnstiles following the Hawks' recent successes against division leaders Washington, Denver and Philadelphia is evidence that white as well as black Atlantans will back a successful team.