Bruce Newman's article on the Philadelphia 76ers (This May Be One for the Books, Feb. 28) was good, but a special thanks for your cover photo of Julius Erving should go to Jerry Wachter. He captured the Lord of the Rims in full ascension.
That cover reminded me of your Jan. 14, 1974 cover photo of the Doctor. That season he led the New York Nets to the ABA championship. Given Erving's current supporting cast, he may well add the NBA title to his list of accomplishments.
JOHN P. LYNSKEY
I'm still curious as to whether Dr. J can dunk a basketball after taking off from one foot inside the foul circle, as Marshall Coach Bob Zuffelato claimed (It Will Be One Testy Season, Nov. 29). In my opinion, George Kiseda of the Los Angeles Times, (19TH HOLE, Dec. 20) was right. Even though the Doctor is one of the best athletes in the world, I don't think he, or anybody, can do it. But no one will know until you get on with the challenge.
West Bloomfield, Mich.
George Kiseda was absolutely right: Sports journalism loses a little bit more credibility each time nonsense—like his letter—creeps into print. First of all, we aren't talking about a 20-foot-long jump, as Kiseda insisted. Isn't "a foot inside the foul circle" 17 or 18 feet from the rim? And why must he execute the dunk at the apex of the leap? I'd guess that more than 95% of all dunk shots are "dunked" on the way down.
Maybe Marshall Coach Bob Zuffelato hasn't seen Dr. J. dunk from a foot inside the foul circle—although he probably has—but obviously Kiseda didn't see the 76ers play the Knicks in Madison Square Garden in March 1978. I remember watching the Doctor take off from well before the foul line, dunk the ball and then put his left arm out in front of him to keep himself from crashing into the backboard. And Julius must have done it many times in the ABA.
Maybe Julius can't do it now, because he is 33 years old. But when he was younger, a trapeze artist who didn't use a net, Julius Winfield Erving II could have dunked from the top of the key in Death Valley.
WILLIAM SCOTT JETT
North Wildwood, N.J.
•Harvey Pollack, longtime director of press relations for the Sixers, put the question to Erving and other members of the team. Dr. J, in his usual unaffected way, replied that he's sure he has dunked from a foot inside the foul circle a number of times during his career, although he's not so sure he could do it now. Rookie Russ Schoene remembers seeing Erving do it in St. Louis during his ABA days, and Trainer Al Domenico is also certain the Doc has done it. Says Pollack, "Julius can hang in air longer than anybody else in the league, probably longer than anyone who has ever played, and he has long arms to reach out and dunk the ball."—ED.