Hockey is a great sport, but it will be second-rate as long as
it permits fighting, goons, enforcers, etc.
--Gary Fraser Las Vegas
I thought Seattle's Gary Payton should have been listed in The
Five Best Moves in the NBA (March 16). Some players have spin
moves, but Payton has the killer "black widow" spin. When
heading downcourt, he weaves his way around players, leaving
them tangled up like flies trapped in a spiderweb, and then
heads for the kill...uh, two points.
Mychal Tu Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
How can you say that the Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal has one of the
five best moves in the NBA? The move that you describe as being
so great requires only that O'Neal push his opponent into the
stands with his back, turn around and slam the ball into the hoop.
Michael Limbacher, Pittsburgh
Not to include Larry Bird's two-handed, overhand ball fake and
step-back jumper is an affront to the best forward to play the
game (The Past, March 16).
Irwin Sirotta, Alpharotta, Ga.
James Worthy left many a defender wondering where he went as he
spun quickly from the low post toward the baseline and around
the defender for a one-handed jam.
Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., Torrance, Calif.
There are goons in the NHL, and the Blues' Brett Hull and Geoff
Courtnall should be happy to have an enforcer like Tony Twist
looking out for their interests (Fighting for a Living, March
16). This hockey fan cheers SI for profiling a stand-up guy
doing a knockdown job.
Jack Giancarlo, Lancaster, N.Y.
When Twist was playing with the Peoria Rivermen, my brother
Scott was serving in Desert Storm. Twist found out about Scott,
got his address and wrote him several times. He even sent a
Merry Christmas banner autographed by all the Rivermen. My
family has never been able to repay this act of kindness from a
Tom Gamboe Jr., Fairview Heights, Ill.
I am offended by SI's celebration of mindless violence in the
article about Tony Twist, who says, "I want to hurt them." How
irresponsible of you to promote the absurdity that violence is
O.K. if it occurs in a sporting context.
David Altheide, Tempe, Ariz.
I'm confused. In "This Week's Sign That the Apocalypse Is Upon
Us" (SCORECARD, March 16), I sensed SI's concern that violence
has become a part of ice hockey, down to the high school level.
Then I read the story about Tony Twist and the hammers "he
throws to kill."
Glenn Wiebe, Hillsboro, Kans.
BUSTING THE ZONE
Your article on basketball's zone defense was great (Danger
Zone, March 16). The zone slows the game and takes a lot of the
poetry out of it. As a coach of a top team of 13-year-old boys,
I hate the zone because it's so darn effective. Although Temple
coach John Chaney's 50 zone variations show that I'm not
remotely as sophisticated as the college coaches you cite, I
still would add a fifth approach to your four-way formula for
busting the zone: I tell my speedy boys to get down the court so
fast that the other team doesn't have a chance to set the darn
John McMahon, Bronxville, N.Y.
How great it was to see an article on Ron Francis, hockey's most
underappreciated player (Captain Class, March 23). Since his
arrival in Pittsburgh, Francis has lived in the shadow of Mario
Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, and thrived in that role. No one
expected him to keep producing, yet he has. Without Francis, the
Penguins would not have won Stanley Cup championships in 1991
and '92, nor would they be competing for a third championship
John Strittmatter, Aurora, Ill.
You mentioned that Lakers legend Chick Hearn had recently
"called his 3,000th game" (Inside the NBA, March 16). Actually
Hearn, who through Sunday had broadcast 3,416 Lakers games,
received his recent honor for calling his 3,000th consecutive
game. He has not missed one since 1965.
Marty Nabhan, Cypress, Calif.
B/W PHOTO: RUSS HALFORD [Elgin Baylor in game]
THE ELGIN WATCH
Elgin Baylor (22) and Dominique Wilkins are left off the list of
earlier best moves because they had too many best moves (The
Past, March 16)? Then you include Kevin McHale for his post-up
package? What happened to Moses Malone? Did he score too many
points? Malone could create his own offense and clearly had a
more complete post-up package.
Arnold Tilden, Lewistown, Pa.