Publish date:



Anyone who doubted the appropriateness of Joe Montana as your Sportsman of the Year will reconsider when they read Leigh Montville's story An American Dream (Dec. 24). Montville has eloquently captured the feeling of being a kid and having a hero. Montana and Montville have successfully permitted this 36-year-old to remember what it was like to be 12.
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Your article gave me the feeling of being in Montana's shoes. Besides being one of the best ever to play the game, he is willing to spend time with the less fortunate. That is a class act seen not often enough. I am 15 years old and would love to take over Montana's position one day.
McSherrystown, Pa.

You have placed the spotlight on a man whom every young person in America can look up to with pride and dream their dream. I know because, even though I am 62, I still dream of taking the snap from center, running to my right and then throwing the winning touchdown pass to Jerry Rice in the last minute of the game.
Foster City, Calif.

It was a nice article, a nice thought, a nice try, but there was one problem. What about all those Montana fans who aren't, and never have been, boys? I'm 17 and grew up in the San Francisco area, and Montana has always been one of my heroes. He stands for more than a "boyhood dream" and unbelievable statistics. He represents qualities that are admired by more than just half the population: poise, dedication, toughness, humility and many more. Montana is a great guy, which is why his fans include women and men, girls and boys.
Mill Valley, Calif.

Every kid should want to grow up and be sportswriter Leigh Montville. Long after Montana tosses his last football, Montville will still be performing magic with his pen. Those big, beautiful pictures of Montana were unncessary; Montville's prose could have stood alone.

Montville's piece was slightly less than realistic. It seems as if Montana is some sort of superhero from a Saturday morning TV cartoon. The photographs, though, were next to perfect, as usual. They should have been presented by themselves.
Catasauqua, Pa.

Take away Montana's pass protection and his receivers, and he's just an ordinary quarterback. I'll take Denver's John Elway any day to make the game exciting when the going gets tough.
Clay Center, Kans.

At last, an article about Dr. Donna Lopiano, athletic director at the University of Texas (Prima Donna, Dec. 17), who many of us in Austin think is the best thing to have come along since they learned how to pump up basketballs. This is a woman who, in effect, started with a do-it-yourself kit for a gokart and 15 years later presides over a General Motors. Her recognition is long overdue.
Austin, Texas

I think you devalue the Sportsman of the Year award—and 1990 winner Joe Montana is certainly worthy of full honors—when you do not picture the urn and list the previous winners.
Munster, Ind.

Here they are.

1954 Roger Bannister
1955 Johnny Podres
1956 Bobby Morrow
1957 Stan Musial
1958 Rafer Johnson
1959 Ingemar Johansson
1960 Arnold Palmer
1961 Jerry Lucas
1962 Terry Baker
1963 Pete Rozelle
1964 Ken Venturi
1965 Sandy Koufax
1966 Jim Ryun
1967 Carl Yastrzemski
1968 Bill Russell
1969 Tom Seaver
1970 Bobby Orr
1971 Lee Trevino
1972 John Wooden and Billie Jean King
1973 Jackie Stewart
1974 Muhammad Ali
1975 Pete Rose
1976 Chris Evert
1977 Steve Cauthen
1978 Jack Nicklaus
1979 Terry Bradshaw and Willie Stargell
1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
1981 Sugar Ray Leonard
1982 Wayne Gretzky
1983 Mary Decker
1984 Mary Lou Retton and Edwin Moses
1985 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
1986 Joe Paterno
1987 Athletes Who Care: Bob Bourne, Kip Keino, Judi Brown King, Dale Murphy, Chip Rives, Patty Sheehan, Rory Sparrow and Reggie Williams
1988 Orel Hershiser
1989 Greg LeMond





Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.