"Who, this year, exemplified the essence of true sportsmanship better than the Mets' Anthony Young?"
JOHN KELLY VETTER, Milwaukee
I was thrilled to see Don Shula on the cover of your Sportsman of the Year issue (Dec. 20). What an honor for a man who has displayed so much courage, determination and integrity, not only in his coaching career but also in his personal life. He is a true inspiration.
JOHN F. ROBBINS, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Though I have complete respect for Don Shula and what he has achieved, I must put into perspective the time frame involved in his accomplishments. Win not give the Sportsman of the Year award to a man who, through his courage and determination, has been an inspiration—Dennis Byrd? His accomplishments in 1993 far exceeded Shula's.
DARRYL HOLZER, Ypsilanti, Mich.
Don Shula is certainly worthy of our praise for his outstanding career. However, though neither a follower of the Pittsburgh Penguins nor an ardent hockey fan, I was absolutely awed by Mario Lemieux's achievements this past year. His battle against lymphoma has been incredible in itself, but his return to hockey after missing almost a quarter of the season, coupled with his ability to take the scoring title while guiding his team to the best record in the league, was even more impressive. This triumph of the human spirit is the essence of competition, and it separates an undisputed champion from the myriad sportsmen. Bravo, Mario!
ADAM FUTTERMAN, Smithtown, N.Y.
Looking back over the year, I believe that one enthusiastic and dedicated athlete stands out as truly memorable and inspirational. Tragically, he passed away in 1993, but he will not be forgotten. His name was Drazen Petrovic.
JAMES M. TANELLA, Westfield, N.J.
Congratulations for your realistic description of Bob Knight's behavior (SCORECARD, Dec. 20). For too many years his abusive, self-centered style of coaching has been touted as a sign of his dedication to sport and to the building of character in young men. It's high time college athletics stopped tolerating aberrant actions by coaches and players. Knight's suspension should be his final warning, not his first.
JOHN P. PICKENS, Prairie Village, Kans.
Bob Knight has done many positive things for both the university and the local community, things that never see the light of day in the national media. I am quite comfortable in stating that I represent the vast majority of the Indiana University family when I say there is no one we would rather have as coach, warts and all.
JOHN P. HEWETT, Indianapolis
I can't believe you don't like the new Nike TV ads featuring Dennis Hopper (SCORECARD, Dec. 20). I think they're creative and a refreshing change from the usual hip-hop, street-ball-playing ads that inundate the airwaves these days.
RANDALL K. SMITH, Tucson
Hey, tell your SCORECARD guy to chill out about Dennis Hopper's Nike ads. They are the funniest, most inventive ads I've seen in a long time. It's the perfect role for Hopper. He gets to make fun of himself, especially his former self, and some of his screen roles, as well as getting to act weird while expressing his admiration for some of the sport's heroes. A little craziness, a little irreverence never hurt anyone. Your SCORECARD guy sounds like a stuffy gray suit.
MICHAEL HOULIHAN, Stevens Point, Wis.
Am I the only one who has noticed that Dennis Hopper has been superimposed as a referee in the video bites that are part of his Nike commercials? You can see him in the background during the commercials with the Troy Aikman and Barry Sanders segments. I've mentioned this to several people, and they've all looked at me as though I were nuts. Take a look and tell me I'm not crazy. Please.
GREG SLAVENS, San Jose
As a longtime follower of Terry Kirby's career, I'd like to thank you for your article about this fine young man (For Goodness' Sake, Dec. 13). Through high school, college and now with the Miami Dolphins, he has been a great role model for local kids. An added note to the story: Terry's fourth cousin is New England Patriot defensive end Chris Slade (below). Like Terry, Slade is from Tabb, Va., was an All-America at Virginia and was one of the top rookies in the NFL this season.
HOWARD B. WATERS
Newport News, Va.
BRIAN KILLIAN/THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
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