In his column on the decline in pro basketball TV ratings (TV/RADIO, Oct. 16), William Leggett overlooks an important reason why televised games fail to attract a substantial audience. One need only consider CBS' coverage of the NBA. The network has a penchant for switching back and forth between various regional games instead of staying with the action of its featured game. This smorgasbord approach is both distracting and self-defeating. In no other sport does momentum play such a key role, and in order to truly enjoy a basketball game you have to watch it develop, without constant interruptions for action on a different court.
Before CBS officials pull the plug on the NBA they ought to try broadcasting the games in toto. Until then Leggett's contention that there is too much basketball on television is a slight overstatement. The fact is, with the present CBS format, there isn't enough real basketball on the tube.
Royal Oak, Mich.
It is my belief that the ratings for pro basketball were down last year for a reason not mentioned in your article. Regional broadcasts deprived us of seeing many great players and good teams. Although an Easterner and a devoted fan, I must admit that I got a bit sick of a steady diet of Philadelphia and the Knicks. Rookie of the Year Walter Davis of Phoenix could only be seen briefly in the All-Star Game.
VAUGHN C. BLANDING
As one who has enjoyed playing, coaching and officiating amateur basketball for the past 30 years, I would have to say that pro basketball is often boring. Many people get turned off by watching some hot dog take the throw-in, dribble the length of the floor and stuff the ball. It's a lot more exciting going to a high school game and watching five boys playing their hearts out, diving after loose balls, screening out for rebounds, feeding the open man for a good shot, playing hard-nosed defense and, most important, not pouting when they don't get the ball.
When pro coaches get back to coaching, and pro players get back to playing, not just shooting, you'll probably see the fans come back. In the meantime, there are other things to do—like shoveling snow.
RICHARD A. MASTERS
I have a few suggestions:
1) Reduce the number of fouls permitted each player from six to five (or even four).
2) Reduce the team-foul limit in each quarter from four to three.
3) When a team is over the foul limit, make all free throws count two points instead of one.
These changes just might speed up the action and prevent a lot of games from turning into monotonous parades to the foul line. They might also allow players like Julius Erving and David Thompson to really show us what they can do without getting mugged every time they touch the ball.