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Original Issue



As publisher of Non-Sport Update, a magazine covering the trading-card market (Star Trek, Disney Cards, Marvel Universe, etc.), I could not believe my eyes when I saw the Michael Jordan Sportsman of the Year cover on your Dec. 23 issue. This is the best hologram I have ever seen, and it is certainly fitting for a great person and a great basketball star. Holograms have recently become popular as items in trading-card packs, but nothing even comes close to yours.
Harrisburg, Pa.

Michael Jordan, not only Sportsman of the Year but also gracing your cover in a three-dimensional hologram—fantastic! How can you top that? How about your annual swimsuit issue with a hologram cover?

Just a thought.
Racine, Wis.

Hallelujah! An early Christmas present from SI, courtesy of Jack McCallum, the only writer to have enough insight to put into print that were Michael Jordan playing for a team like the Lakers, he might be a better passer than Magic Johnson (Alone on the Mountaintop). I've been arguing that for years.

My only quibble with McCallum's fine piece is when he says that Jordan was "probably" the best player in the world even before Johnson's retirement. With no disrespect to Magic, let's change that to "unequivocally."
Marina del Rey, Calif.

Your three articles about Jordan reveal him to be a man we can all model ourselves after. They should be required reading in our elementary schools. Not all of us have the physical ability to emulate Jordan on the court, but we can make an effort to embrace his humanitarian approach to life and accept one another without prejudice.

Jordan is a superb athlete and a worthy choice as Sportsman of the Year, but it is silly to claim, as McCallum does, that he is "unquestionably the most famous athlete on the planet.... No athlete has been as popular on a worldwide scale." Likewise, David Halberstam reveals tunnel vision when he states, "I have not seen fame like this in almost 30 years" (A Hero for the Wired World). There are seven continents on the planet. And I guarantee you that Muhammad Ali is more famous and more popular than Jordan on six of them, perhaps on all seven.
New York City

•Hauser is author of the book Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times.—ED.

I am troubled by your articles supporting Jordan's selection as Sportsman of the Year. You say little about what makes Jordan great besides the fact that he is a tremendously gifted athlete. What about his contributions to society—his charitable works, for instance? None are mentioned. The articles state that he is a role model, arguing that as a popular figure he transcends race, as evidenced by his endorsement contracts. How does this make him a sportsman?

I expect better from a magazine that prints articles about the dangerous influence of sports advertising on inner-city youth and the fallacy of their aspirations to escape poverty via athletics. The articles perform a disservice by encouraging such aspirations.

I am appalled that Jordan was picked as your Sportsman of the Year. I would not label this man a sportsman. This is a pro athlete who would not go to the White House with his team to be recognized for their NBA championship. He also reportedly refused to play on the U.S. Olympic team if another player was also selected. I hope my children try to be great athletes like Jordan, but I also hope they grow up to be better sportsmen.
Santa Barbara, Calif.

When an American turns down an offer to visit the President of the United States, he is no sportsman in my book.
Lake Forest, Calif.

Jordan may be the best pro basketball player of all time, but a sportsman? Last year this sportsman called his top adversary, the Detroit Pistons, bad for basketball. All the Pistons did, in winning two straight world titles, was usher in a new style of much-copied basketball and do it by setting a new standard for team play.
Lapeer, Mich.

Not that His Royal Airness isn't deserving of an accolade or two, but the man who should have been picked is another Mike—Krzyzewski. For Coach K and Duke basketball, 1991 not only brought the school's first NCAA championship but also capped the Blue Devils' incredible run of five Final Four appearances in six years and four in a row.

Jordan is great, but come on. He did go to Carolina.
Durham, N.C.



His Royal Airness was elated upon receiving his award at a ceremony in Chicago.

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.