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Original Issue


Pat Riley was right when he said bratty behavior will be the NBA's downfall.

NBA Crybabies
You wrote about the NBA's spoiled brats (Bad Actors, Jan. 30), but you skipped lightly over some of the background. From the moment these young men are discovered in high school, they are coddled, given expensive scholarships and made to feel that they are above the rules. They get multimillion-dollar contracts upon leaving college, whether they earn a degree or not. Is it any wonder that this conditioning carries over into the NBA, manifesting itself in temper tantrums and defiance of coaches? Perhaps we should look more closely at the system that creates such behavior, not just the behavior itself.
RICK MOON, Waukesha, Wis.

Much of the blame for these players' crybaby ways lies with outrageous rookie salaries. No way an unproven rookie deserves to make $10 million a year. The league should establish a standard two-year rookie contract for a maximum of $1 million a year. Two years should be enough time for rookies to prove themselves, and a million dollars a year is certainly enough money to live on.
DAVID A. LEWIS, Edenton, N.C

SI is not the first to recognize the NBA's crybabies. Topps trading cards immortalized Scottie Pippen in a true-to-life action shot that illustrates his contribution to the Bulls during the final seconds of Game 3 of last year's Eastern Conference finals against the New York Knicks.
DAN BUMP, Duarte, Calif.

The quote from NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik about players' misconduct says it all: "It hasn't risen to any sort of crisis level. It hasn't diminished the fans' appreciation of our game." Translation: As long as fans are willing to put up with the boorish, self-centered behavior of some players, there is no real problem.
DAVID S. PINKHAM, Barrington, R.I.

Chris Webber exercised his contractual right to become a restricted free agent. He candidly expressed his wishes to play in a more positive and friendly atmosphere. His work ethic and desire to win are beyond reproach. Why then is he included in this negative article?

I am Chris Webber's attorney and one of his agents. I do not question that there may be prima donnas in the NBA, but your article was way off base in claiming that Chris is one of them. There are no incidents of his refusing to go into any game, missing practice or refusing to play for any coach. You need to get your facts straight and get off Webber's back.

I feel that Golden State Warrior guard Latrell Sprewell should not be named as a bad actor along with Scottie Pippen, Derrick Coleman and others who don't like their coach or team and would like to be traded. Sprewell was displeased with a thing or two that former coach Don Nelson did. He was suspended for one game, and that was the end of that.

The worst thing about these prima donnas is the effect they have on young people, who can only conclude that such behavior is cool.
WILL JOHNSTON JR., Mill Valley, Calif.

I am on the Morse High junior varsity basketball team in Bath, Maine. When we play other teams, I see kids yelling at coaches and fans and getting away with it. The ones with the bad mouths are usually the better players, so their coaches don't do much to stop such behavior. I think we need to deal with this at the youngest age.

Many of today's players think they are bigger than the game itself. Wrong. One of these days this cash cow is going to die. For many fans like myself, it already has.
JOHN B. GOUDY, Kendallville, Ind.

Kendra's Commitment
I find it interesting that after high school quarterback Dan Kendra verbally committed to Penn State but then changed his mind and committed to Florida State (A Quick Reverse, Jan. 23), Seminole coach Bobby Bowden immediately welcomed Kendra. Bowden is the same man who a year ago became incensed when Fred Taylor, another highly recruited high school senior, changed his mind and went to Florida after verbally committing to Florida State. Apparently Bowden believes that only verbal commitments to Florida State should be honored.

As a Penn Stater, I am disappointed that Dan Kendra changed his mind—or should I say that Dan's father changed his son's mind? The senior Kendra's comment that Dan is "the only one who matters" is flawed. What about the quarterbacks who wanted to go to Penn State but either were not recruited or looked elsewhere after learning of Kendra's commitment?
JOHN R. HEISLER, Minot, N. Dak.



Does Pippen's card reflect an attitude?

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