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Just because Pete Sampras doesn't throw his shirt into the crowd
shouldn't make him any less "da man."


Anyone who thinks Pete Sampras is boring has probably never seen
him play (POINT AFTER, July 14). The photo on your July 14 cover
captures everything that is exciting about him--his remarkable
athletic skill and grace, stunning good looks and a perfect body
that doesn't have an arrogant bone in it. Pete Sampras boring?
No way!
IVY TONG, San Francisco

Sadly, in today's ultrahyped, ultracommercialized athletic
atmosphere, the camera shuns you unless you dress up in women's
evening wear or bite your opponent's ear off or kill your ex-wife.
JUSTIN M. WILSON, Springfield, Va.


Thank you for the Gallery of Unforgettable Portraits (July 21).
It was terrific! I especially appreciated the picture of the Ol'
Professor, Casey Stengel. Let's do this again in six months or so.

I thought the portraits were supposed to be from the pages of
SI. That's a great picture of Casey peering into the future via
his baseball crystal ball, but the caption says it was taken in
1949. What is he foreseeing? The birth of your magazine in 1954?

-The photo of Stengel ran in our Sept. 22, 1958, issue in
connection with a look back at Stengel's 10 years and nine
pennants as the Yankees manager.--ED.

No Gretzky, Orr, Howe, Roy, Richard? Your Gallery of
Unforgettable Portraits forgot one thing--hockey! Seven
portraits for baseball, six for basketball, three for football,
three for boxing, two for tennis, one each for golf, track and
Howard Cosell. Why is hockey treated like the drunk uncle that
no one in the SI family wants to talk about?
PETER M. QUINE, Winchester, Mass.

I am disappointed that you failed to include what sticks in my
mind as one of your best photographs: the March 18, 1996, cover
photo of Jay Buhner of the Mariners. Buhner has his teeth around
the handle of a bat, a good depiction of Buhner's menacing
appearance, but not of his family-man personality as portrayed
in the story inside.
JEFF BEAM, Princeton Junction, N.J.

I greatly admired the cover. I've always suspected that Frank
Gifford was the Count Dracula of the NFL.
STEVE MUELLER, Vashon, Wash.

Who doesn't know that Martina Navratilova is an animal-rights
activist? That she has done ads and public service spots for
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? That she is on the
board of the Doris Day Animal League? That she has been an
outspoken critic of fur and how furs are trapped? So how does a
photo of her wearing fur taken for a Women's Tennis Association
promotional calendar in 1986 qualify as being part of the
"finest portraiture in our archives"?


I would like to tell the other side of the debate about the use
of Native American names and symbols that was left out of your
SCORECARD item (July 14). Chief Illiniwek is not a mascot; he is
the official symbol of the University of Illinois. He is not a
cartoon character who prances around the sidelines. The
portrayal of Illiniwek has been respectful and dignified since
its inception in 1926. Illiniwek is portrayed by a student who
has been educated by Native Americans in Native American
culture. He wears an authentic headdress and suit made by Sioux
chief Frank Fools Crow. The dance performed by Illiniwek is
based on a type of celebratory Sioux dance that is called fancy

I can never forget the first time that I saw Chief Illiniwek. It
was at a football game, and I was about 10 years old. I saw a
man perform a dance that gave me chills and filled me with
pride. Near the end, Illiniwek stood confidently on the 50-yard
line with his arms folded and then slowly raised them in a sign
of victory, while thousands of students and fans put their arms
around one another and sang Hail to the Orange. There was
nothing that reminded me of M.C. Hammer, Richard Simmons or Biff
the town idiot, as your article suggested.
ROBB MCCOY, Schaumburg, Ill.

COLOR PHOTO: MARK JONES To his supporters, Illiniwek is a symbol of dignity. [Man as Chief Illiniwek wearing Native American headdress and suit]