CHAMPIONS OF AMERICAN SPORT
Dear Sports Editor:
Which sport is really America’s national pastime today?
Baseball has the oldest claim, and the boys of summer – – with or without their outsized bonuses and lifetime contracts – – are eternally appealing. But TV replays and Super Bowl mania have made football Sunday’s most enduring national cult. For one electrifying day, at least, the NCAA Final Four makes basketball the rosiest apple in the American pie. And when “The Greatest” was floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, piling up multi-million dollar purses and attracting wide screen audiences on every continent, heavyweight boxing seemed to reign supreme.
Washington, D.C., June 5 1982 – – From the baseball, and football fields, from the tennis and basketball courts, from the tracks and raceways, boxing, skating and rodeo arenas, present champions, former champions and the widows and families of champions will be welcomed at the opening of the National Portrait Gallery’s summer exhibition Champions of American Sport.
The National Portrait Gallery’s tribute to 100 Champions of American Sport from the 1830s to the present is the first major exhibition ever devoted to the outstanding sports personalities of our nation.