When I was a youth, I so idolized Rick Barry that I obtained his autograph not just once but four times. Yet the disdain others felt for him was apparent to me. I understood why they didn't appreciate him, but I never figured out why the anti-Barry sentiment was so widespread, until I read Tony Kornheiser's piece (A Voice Crying in the Wilderness, April 25).
I believe many people misunderstood Barry because they were simply ignorant of, or unwilling to comprehend, his total being. It's significant that truly intelligent and sensitive people like Bill King, Tom Meschery, Butch Beard and Julius Erving see past Barry's abrasive exterior.
Fortunately, it appears that Barry is gaining "sight of himself," to borrow Meschery's words. Barry used to be marvelous in finding a way to the basket. I hope he'll now find a way to happiness.
Twin Falls, Idaho
A college friend of mine and I spent what seems to have been an endless number of evenings discussing "Who was the better college player, Rick Barry or Bill Bradley?" I don't know if we ever settled the argument, but he named his son after Bradley and I named mine Rick Felsen! Please tell Barry that someone loves him.
PAUL E. FELSEN
I'll never forget the day when, as a teenager, I was wandering near the old Madison Square Garden and happened to see Rick Barry. I called to him and jokingly asked if he had any tickets for the game that night, and guess what? He reached into his jacket and gave me four and told me to "enjoy the game." I'd like to finally say thank you for those tickets. I was so shocked at the time that I just grabbed them and walked off.
Takoma Park, Md.
For five years, Rick Barry was a guest lecturer at the Eastern Basketball Camp in Moodus, Conn. at the same time he was participating in the Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open golf tournament, and his theories on shooting and his rapport with the kids were special. Barry always answered our requests that he come by saying, "I will do it for the kids." Money was never discussed, yet the trip to the camp must have been an inconvenience for him. Although we paid him the going rate for his time, he helped us because he really is a good guy.
Eastern Sports Services
If your article was supposed to make me feel sorry for Rick Barry, it didn't work. Sleeping until 10, a few hours of "business," a little tennis, a month in Palm Springs to improve his tan—it sounds like a fantasy to me. Maybe he should be thankful for what he has. If the public doesn't adore him, it's his fault.
DAVID W. KELLY
Rick Barry jumped ship—or tried to—on the Oakland Oaks-Washington Caps-Virginia Squires and the Warriors (twice). He played for five teams in five years under three contracts—and twice had simultaneous contracts with NBA and ABA teams. Simply put, he's the Benedict Arnold of Hoops.
I was shocked and appalled by your story on Rick Barry. The narcissism portrayed is more likely to be found in a teen-aged beach boy than in a 39-year-old man. Has Barry ever had a thought not concerned with himself? I think the answer is no, in spite of the writer's attempt to excuse his many insufferable actions and words.
If he wants to be a coach, let him start at the high school or junior college level and work his way up to the NBA, if he's good enough. If he wants to be a sportscaster, let him work at a local station and build a portfolio that would land him a network job. Why should he start out at the top?