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Congratulations on approaching a difficult area with tact and
objectivity. The debate continues.
EDWARD T. CREAGAN, Rochester, Minn.


Thank you, S.L. Price, for a pair of excellent reports (What
Ever Happened to the White Athlete? and Is It in the Genes? Dec.
8) and for not arriving at stupid and oversimplified
conclusions. I hope those who read the articles realize that it
takes a whole lot more than superfreak genes to play in the NBA
or the NFL. Perhaps Michael Jordan does so well because he
maximizes his physical and temperamental abilities through
rigorous physical training and mental preparation, intense
desire, vision and a refusal to quit.
CARTER HASKINS, Broken Arrow, Okla.

If there are some apparent physiological differences between
whites and blacks (skin color, hair type, etc.), then there
could also be other differences. Some white basketball players
can jump like blacks; some white sprinters can run like blacks.
What differs is the distribution across the range for each race.

Very sensitive stuff. Thanks for bringing it up.
GEORGE FOWLER, Indianapolis

I am disturbed that your poll of middle school and high school
students reveals that 57% of black males believe they can
realistically become a pro athlete when they grow up. While I am
a proponent of the saying "What you believe, you can achieve,"
reality suggests that many of these dreams of glory will be
BRANNON J. FISHER, Boulder, Colo.

The black athlete isn't hungrier. In most instances he is simply
passed through high school and college without working on and
demonstrating comprehension of what should be the most important
thing: academics.
JEFFREY M. BRITT, Asheville, N.C.

Whatever happened to the white athlete? He moved on to become a
doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. A more probing cover would have
been whatever happened to the black scientist?
GLENN TANNER, Redondo Beach, Calif.

He's coaching.

He's playing hockey.

He's sitting in the house playing computer games.
TED W. BROOKS, Hanover, Pa.

While there are certainly many gifted black athletes, I don't
buy the theory that the black gene pool breeds better athletes
any more than I buy the theory that the white gene pool breeds
better students. Fathers like me do not encourage our kids to
get involved in sports like football and basketball in which
trash-talking, dissing your opponent and other bizarre behavior
is not only tolerated but also encouraged by coaches who are
driven to win at all costs. If football and basketball got their
acts together, I suspect you'd see the return of the white
DOUG FULMER, Flower Mound, Texas

Articles like this promote racial division. Your message to
children of all races is that the color of their skin is going
to dictate what sport they play.

If we continue to look at the world in terms of black and white,
what we will see are blacks and whites. Until this perspective
changes, we are destined to be a divided nation. Why can't we
just praise athletes for their skills and achievements and not
concern ourselves with their race?
PETER F. JUNKER, Culver City, Calif.

By not including women in your coverage, you deny them the
societal and cultural importance of athletics that you grant
ELLEN COOPER, South Hadley, Mass.

As a white male, I know that whites are obsolete in sports. Most
whites know this. But you know what? They are still sports fans.
They still have their favorite teams, because they don't care
about the race of the players. No real fan does.
BRIAN S. WISE, South Bend

The four ghostly pale, unidentified faces on your cover
represent 80% of Princeton's 1956-57 basketball team, namely
(from the left) me, Ken MacKenzie, Carl Belz and captain Don
Davidson. Fred Perkins remains on SI's cutting-room floor.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER [John Stockton in game]


Your comment that Larry Bird is the NBA's last white superstar
is questionable. What about the NBA's alltime assists and steals
leader, John Stockton of the Utah Jazz?
DANIEL PARHAM, Weatherford, Texas