ESPN'S DICK VITALE
William Taaffe's May 14 TV/RADIO article on Dick Vitale was a joy to read. I've been asking DV to turn down the volume for what seems like an eternity. Vitale is the Howard Cosell of the NBA, and Taaffe was correct in saying, "You either love him or loathe him." Well, DV, it's the LC (Loathe Column) for this FV (Fed-up Viewer).
Count me among those who "loathe" Dick Vitale. Every time this loud analyst opens his mouth, he shows his lack of knowledge and makes me want to turn off the volume control, never mind turning it down.
ESPN has given Dick Vitale a new three-year contract? Agghhh!
In my opinion, Dick Vitale has a very unusual and entertaining style that most people like. As a coach, I've had many conversations with him about the game of basketball and found him extremely knowledgeable. To intimate that he's primarily an entertainer rather than an analyst is wrong. I don't know of anyone who's any better at analyzing the game than Dick.
ARNOLD (RED) AUERBACH
President and General Manager
I cry foul when Taaffe claims that Dick Vitale is remiss in his duties by being more of an entertainer than an analyst. This is DV's nature, as he freely admits in the article, and it's essential to his effectiveness. I feel DV gives the viewer just enough insight—and then barrages him with his self-designed lingo and verbosity. Besides, only Vitale's boyish and ebullient personality could make ESPN's endless reruns of college and pro basketball worth watching! Turn up the volume, and rack up a big W for Dick Vitale!
JOHN G. TROTTA
Many thanks for alerting the SI audience to what a lot of us Tristan Jones fans knew already: The little Welshman is the quintessential old salt, a superb writer of nautical adventure, a man of great wit and erudition and a human being of the highest order (A New Voyage for an Old Salt, May 14).
I've been a subscriber for nearly 30 years, and whenever I think of letting my subscription lapse, along comes a great piece like Ray Kennedy's on Jones or Frank Deford's The Toughest Coach There Ever Was (April 30). Quality writing. Fascinating people.
Jamestown, N. Dak.
THE KNICKS' KING
Congratulations to Bruce Newman for his outstanding article on Bernard King and the New York Knickerbockers (Hero of a Showdown in Motown, May 7). Being seniors at the University of Tennessee and King fans, We were particularly delighted to see "His Royal Highness" get the attention and recognition we believe has been long overdue. Since his freshman year at Tennessee, when he averaged 26.4 points and 12.3 rebounds a game, those of us who follow Volunteer basketball have known that Bernard was headed for greatness. His magnificent performance during the Knicks' playoff series with the Pistons illustrated the type of basketball King is capable of playing. Only Larry Bird of the Celtics deserves as much credit for his one-man contribution to his team, but King gets our votes as the NBA's Player of the Year.
After looking at your May 7 cover and story on Bernard King, I have one simple question to ask: If King "raises the game to a new level," where does Larry Bird take it?
St. Clair Shores, Mich.
SOUTH AFRICA'S BUDDING TRACK STAR
I've been looking forward to reading mail on Peter Hawthorne and Kenny Moore's article on running sensation Zola Budd (A Flight to a Stormy Haven, April 9), but to my dismay, none has so far appeared. Recently, Zola's situation has been newsworthy. Protesters flocked to a recent meet and chanted obscenities because of her presence in England. It's unfortunate that Zola's original homeland, South Africa, is racially divided, but treating her—an innocent athlete—in such a manner is sad. I'll back Zola in the Olympics if she becomes eligible. She's a class act and doesn't deserve the political garbage that has been thrust upon her.