CENTER OF THE STORM
Your article on Bill Walton and the Trail Blazers (L.A. Couldn't Move the Mountain, May 23) was surprisingly accurate in its account of the events leading to the Portland sweep of L.A. in the playoffs. But I take exception to the caption on the cover: "Walton Outduels Abdul-Jabbar." Indeed! I can appreciate your fantasy but it will never be realized. Under no circumstances did Walton "outduel" Abdul-Jabbar. He was simply surrounded by better personnel. The most persuasive argument that Abdul-Jabbar is the best center in basketball is this—put Walton on the Lakers and Abdul-Jabbar on the Trail Blazers. Don't you agree there would be no contest? Of course, you do.
You do an injustice to the only man who can score over mountains. Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest thing that's happened in basketball since the backboard. Walton is great, too, but without the help of "78 billion Oregonians and their grandchildren," Maurice Lucas, and the Trail Blazer guard of your choice, the Mountain Man didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of stopping Abdul-Jabbar. If the rest of the Lakers hadn't been standing around doing Statue of Liberty imitations that Marcel Marceau would have been proud of, Portland wouldn't have been able to double-and triple-team Abdul-Jabbar. There ain't no one who can put the stops on Kareem one-on-one, let alone "outduel" him.
MICHAEL C. LINDER
I watched the Norton-Bobick fight and also the Ali-Evangelista bout. After reading Make Him 38 and One (May 23), I realized I wasn't the only one to complain about these mismatches. Why does the public pay so much to see these fights? Isn't there anything that can be done, for instance, to make Ali fight Norton? I don't understand how Ali can tell Norton to fight Young, yet be backing down from these fights himself. If Ali is to remain champion, he should stop wasting everyone's time and money and fight the main contenders.
MARY ANNA HARVIE
I would like to thank your whole staff for the finest Stanley Cup coverage it has produced in some time—three consecutive issues containing 11 color photographs, one cover and three full-length articles!
Your article They Ruined the Bruins (May 23) was certainly right: no one can beat the Canadiens no matter where they play. When you have the combination of Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt, and the goaltending of Ken Dryden, it is like aluminum trying to bend steel.
COME HOME BILL HARTACK
Well thank God somebody finally noticed! I was beginning to think everyone had forgotten. Here's to Frank Deford, Hong Kong, Viking, last place, and most of all Bill Hartack! I salute all five with heartfelt enthusiasm.
Hartack (A Hero Who Has Cone on to Happy Valley, May 23) is the only jockey I thoroughly admire and respect, and that includes Arcaro and Shoemaker. Hartack's good, and will always be good. Arcaro was good until he retired, Longden was good until he retired and Shoemaker will be good until he quits.
The problem is not enough people seem to know how good Hartack is. I know it. And if I owned racehorses I'd have him brought back. However, a racehorse costs more than $139.28, which is all I have at present. Hartack should be here, in this country, where we need good riders, where we need someone with guts, pride, honesty, skill and knowledge.
HONDO ON THE RUN
Hey, hold it, just one little minute. John Havlicek's pedometer "logged eight miles in 43 minutes' playing time" (SCORECARD, May 16)? No way. Five-plus minutes per mile for eight consecutive miles of dribbling, passing, shooting, blocking, etc.? At age 37?
I always thought Havlicek must be related to Superman, but this is ridiculous.
ALFRED J. HANLON