WITH AND WITHOUT PRO FOOTBALL
The article The Ship Has Sailed Again.... (Nov. 29) by Ahmad Rashad as told to Frank Deford was sensitive, and thus, unlike almost all poststrike articles that will be written, it offered a refreshing angle. The image of professional football was badly injured by the strike, and although it is true that loyal fans have short memories, many of us feel personally cheated. In any fan-athlete relationship, this is a serious offense. Rashad's enlightening account helped to bandage some of the wounds.
Grove City, Pa.
The three-part Journal of a Plagued Year (Oct. 18 et seq.) by Ahmad Rashad provided some of the finest reading to grace the pages of SI in recent years. It was similar to one of those good novels you just can't put down. In addition to possessing considerable journalistic talent and football ability, Rashad is a class act as a person. He makes it an extreme pleasure to support the Vikings, regardless of the final score. Now that he's retiring from football, I'm sure he'll attain similar success in his chosen field of broadcasting. I, for one, hope he'll also do occasional articles for SI.
I can't wait for the next NFL strike. Your issues while there was no pro football were the best ever.
DENIS F. LINEHAN
New City, N.Y.
You devoted 43 pages of your Nov. 29 issue to the moribund sport of college basketball and only 12 pages to the weekend's NFL action. Are you people aware that the strike is over and that NFL games have resumed?
LANNY R. MIDDINGS
San Ramon, Calif.
Being a lifelong Duke fan, I almost didn't read Frank Deford's story on North Carolina Basketball Coach Dean Smith (Long Ago, He Won the Big One, Nov. 29). However, I did read it, and I wish I had four hands—one to shake Deford's hand for writing it, one to shake Smith's hand for living it and two to dry my eyes. What a touching story about a man I thought I hated.
KENNETH T. GREEN
The story of Dean Smith by Frank Deford was terrific! I learned a lot about a man who I think is the best basketball coach anywhere. I remember the years with Larry Miller and Rusty Clark, and of course I remember Charlie Scott. I remember great games between North Carolina and Davidson; Scott always seemed to hit a shot at the end to win it for the Heels. I could talk all day about Dean and the Heels and I hope you'll print this, because I'm a North Carolina State fan!
Dean Smith for Sportsman of the Year.
Siler City, N.C.
As a University of Virginia graduate, over the years I have watched the struggles—mostly futile—of the Wahoos against Dean Smith's teams. Thus, I may be overly sensitive to an article such as Frank Deford's. However, I found misleading the intimation that coaches at three other North Carolina colleges felt so powerless to compete with Smith that they "fled the state." To picture Bill Foster (Duke), Lee Rose (North Carolina at Charlotte) and Norm Sloan (North Carolina State) as having to run away from the all-powerful Dean connotes a degree of failure in their programs that was simply not evident. As you point out, all three moves were preceded by highly successful seasons—capped by an NCAA second place, an NCAA semifinal berth and an NCAA championship, respectively. I think it would be much fairer to cast the decisions of these coaches to leave as having been made after they had accomplished a great deal. You also took a cheap shot at Virginia Coach Terry Holland by saying "consider the source," after quoting him regarding Smith.
When I began this letter, I identified my bias. Perhaps Frank Deford, Curry Kirkpatrick and the other Carolina alumni at SI would be kind enough to take off their shoes and show us their Tar Heels.
TIMOTHY G. CONNORS
•Deford's a Princeton man.—ED.