What makes Mullin an outstanding player is that he constantly rewards and pleases the fan. Just when you think he's at the absolute top of his craft, Mo makes a move that puts a smile on your face. What brings him to the level of greatness, however, is that he is so consummate a performer that he has the uncommon ability to convert the casual observer into an ardent fan of the game itself.
Chris Mullin is much more than one of the best at what he does. He is good for the game. That is true excellence.
JOHN THOMPSON (CONT.)
As a reporter covering Georgetown's first NCAA championship game in 1982, I was surprised by John Thompson's angry response when he was asked about the possibility that he might become the first black coach to win the college basketball title. Now that Thompson has expressed that anger to John Wideman, I still am.
Nobody posing these questions meant them in any way to be "insulting" or to imply there was "a great big blank before the first one came along." The point was precisely that "plenty of other black coaches could have won an NCAA championship if they had ever had the opportunity."
Thompson could have decried the racism that had prevented this from happening. He could have paid a long-overdue tribute to the great black coaches of the past whose struggle through the years was now paying off in his own moment in the spotlight. He could have taken advantage of the national attention he was receiving to give an excellent lesson in a part of American sports history. And he would have found many of us who would have been more than happy to print it. Instead, Thompson just got mad.
Thompson tells Wideman he sometimes feels sorry for reporters. That is something that works both ways.
All right, you SI sleuths, what is that bump under the sock on Doug Flutie's left leg in your Dec. 3 cover photo and also in the picture at the top of page 22? Is it a bug for intercepting defense signals at ground level or some kind of electrical leg stimulator to remind him to push off on the other foot?
JOHN C. KOPPEN
I was a quarterback in college, and when our offense was not on the field, I would keep my mouth guard inside my stocking, pressed against my calf, so I could easily find it before running back onto the field (many quarterbacks do not strap their mouth guards to their face masks). Could the lump inside Doug Flutie's left stocking be his mouth guard?
?Indeed it is.—ED.
I would in no way want to diminish what Doug Flutie has done for college football. However, the "play of the year" may have been an illegal one. If the bulge in Doug's left sock is what I think it is—his mouthpiece—and if he had it there for the final play, he was in violation of NCAA Rule 1-4-4d: "AH players shall wear the following mandatory equipment...An intra-oral mouthpiece that covers all upper jaw teeth."