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Original Issue


Your story congratulates Duke for becoming "nasty" and playing
with "swagger." Why is this good?
--RICK GAMMONS, Buffalo Grove, Ill.


Kudos to Tim Crothers for his piece on Duke basketball (No More
Mr. Nice Guys, Feb. 22). His insights into role players Shane
Battier and Chris Carrawell should provide inspiration for high
school athletes across America. Just one problem: How could you
use Carolina blue for the cover logo color?

I wonder if Mike Krzyzewski would have chosen to have back
surgery during the 1994-95 season had the roster looked then as
it does this year. If that team had ended up as national champs,
would Duke have appealed to have that record credited to interim
coach Pete Gaudet? By the way, where is Pete?
Washington, N.C.

--Pete Gaudet is a high school teacher in Nashville. --ED.

I thought that Duke basketball was one of the last bastions of
sportsmanship and class in big-time athletics. Silly me. Here's
the sainted Grant Hill speaking of "complete arrogance" and
"total disrespect for whoever we played." Here's the sainted
Coach K pining for the days when players stomped on the chests
of fallen opponents and exhorting students publicly with an
obscenity. Just how far into the abyss of coarseness and
disregard for our fellow human beings are we willing to let our
greed and win-at-all-costs mentality take us?


It is undeniable that Melvin Whitaker slashed the face of
Maurice Anderson. Whether it was intentional or not no longer
matters. Everyone makes mistakes. When they are truly remorseful
and apologize, they should be forgiven.
DAN R. RYBAK, Lisle, Ill.

The fact that Anderson has not forgiven Whitaker is irrelevant.
How many of us could forgive someone in a similar situation?

Anderson's worrying about how he will explain the scar to his
daughter is shallow. He should be thinking how he will explain
to her why she was born out of wedlock.
BILL THOMAS, Hoover, Ala.


Sacramento Kings guard Jason Williams may be able to, as Kings
coach Rick Adelman says, "see the entire court," but it's
obvious he can't see the big picture (Pass Master, Feb. 22).
What's he going to do if he suffers a career-ending injury?
What's the guy who did "just enough to get by" in school going
to do then? It's unfortunate that a person so adept at making
the perfect pass cares so little about passing marks.
OWEN LOCKWOOD, Orange, Conn.

Before you start heaping praise on the abilities of Williams,
let's give him a whole season to prove himself. I wish nothing
but the best for him, but in three or four years he'll be out of
the league and wondering what to do next.
EFRAIN AMBRIZ, Harlingen, Texas

Congratulations to Williams for fulfilling a lifelong dream of
making it to the NBA and, more important, for getting his life
back in order.
TIM CHAPMAN, Bellingham, Wash.


In listing some of the greatest college basketball comeback
victories (INSIDE COLLEGE BASKETBALL, Feb. 22.), how could you
forget Massachusetts's win over West Virginia in the 1994-95
season in which the Minutemen were trailing by 18 points with
4:48 left?
DAN SIBOR, Hingham, Mass.

You omitted George Mason's incredible 96-95 comeback victory
over St. Francis of Pennsylvania on Dec. 20, 1996. The Patriots
overcame a 29-point deficit with just under 12 minutes to play.
Guard Nate Langley scored 22 points in the last 8:34.
PAUL AXE, Springfield, Va.


Award a gold medal to Rick Reilly for his piece on the
leadership of the IOC (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Feb. 22). President
Samagift should send his shotguns, first-class air tickets and
smoking jackets to the Olympic hall of shame. Sponsors should
demand that IOC leadership step down.
SCOTT CHAMBERS, Solana Beach, Calif.

Right on, Rick! No more corporate bucks until SamaRat is gone!
DAVID BRENNAN, West Springfield, Mass.

Considering the ties his employer has to the IOC, it took guts
for Reilly to call the dead fish a dead fish. Thanks for
speaking for those of us who have resolved to ignore Olympic
broadcasts and refuse to buy any more of those articles bearing
the colorful rings.
JOHN H. WHITE, Greenwood, S.C.

Regarding Don Logan's response to Reilly where he says "and do
whatever else may be necessary to restore the integrity of the
Olympics": The integrity of the Games doesn't need to be
restored, because it hasn't been tainted. No one should confuse
the past and future achievements of a Bonnie Blair or a Michael
Johnson with the corrupt, arrogant ways of an incompetent
bureaucracy. Juan Antonio Samaranch needs to be called Your
Excellency because he knows that when all eyes are on Michelle
Kwan at Salt Lake City, he doesn't matter at all.
Cambridge, Mass.

Time for Us to Check Out of the Olympics? Talk about throwing
the baby out with the bath water. Do not be a quitter and turn
your back on the problem. Instead, turn around, confront it and
see how you can make the Games better.
MICHAEL SAWYER, Northfield, Ill.


As both a longtime SI subscriber and a NASCAR fan, I was less
than pleased with Steve Rushin's sarcastic article about the
Daytona 500 (SI VIEW, Feb. 22). If Rushin doesn't like auto
racing, have him cover something more sedate such as a dog show
or maybe a horseshoes tournament. Loud noise seems to bring out
the worst in him. I hope he'll stay away from future races.
MARTY LITTLE, Plantation, Fla.

The only true statement by Rushin was in Paragraph 1 when he
said he knew very little about auto racing. He spent an entire
page proving it.
JACK M. MILLS, Columbia, S.C.

Not only did you manage to sweep the Super Bowl of NASCAR to the
back of the issue with a short article (INSIDE MOTOR SPORTS) but
you also included a riveting column by Rushin. It managed to
list every possible stereotype and cliche known to stock car
racing. Surely, there must be some reward for such fine work.
SARAH WUTKA, Ann Arbor, Mich.

I'm so mad about your description of NASCAR fans, I want my
subscription canceled. Except, I don't have one.
CHUCK WHITE, Mableton, Ga.

DON RORABAUGH, Gainesville, Ga.

The Feb. 22 issue had more information on NASCAR racing than you
had practically all last season. I hope this is an omen of
things to come.
CARLA A. ALEXANDER, Whitehouse, Texas


Just a word of appreciation for your GOLF PLUS edition. The news
is timely, the features are excellent and I don't have to put up
with golf instruction, which would make my game worse than it is.
PAUL A. LAZARUS, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Gary Van Sickle had it right in his column about the Andersen
Consulting Match Play final (Show of Strength, March 8). Anyone
who dumps on an Andrew Magee-Jeff Maggert final, especially one
that goes an extra two holes, doesn't appreciate gutsy golf.
MIKE TOWLE, Nashville

Your coverage of the Andersen Consulting Match Play event was
terrible (Match Madness, March 8). Instead of focusing on the
gamesmanship and shotmaking of this fantastic format, you talk
about whether the television coverage was a success or not. I
couldn't care less. This was as compelling a golf tournament as
any I've seen.

Paul Azinger appears to be a bit of a whiner (My Shot, Feb. 22).
The World Ranking is based on week-to-week performances of the
players. If Nick Faldo is 65th in the current ranking, it is
because 64 players are playing better golf than he is. Faldo has
earned his place in history, but that is just what it is--history.
TED HEMPHILL, Lexington, Va.

Golf is a sport played on two levels: at the highest level for
tournament victories and at a basic level against oneself, ever
striving to improve. While it is true that Arnold Palmer does
not contend at the former level, he does so at the latter. I
continue to applaud Palmer's small victories as much as I used
to applaud his Masters and U.S. Open victories. To suggest that
golf be taken from him, or that he take it from himself by not
competing (The Long Goodbye, Feb. 15), would be cruel and
unusual punishment and the antithesis of what golf is about.

I take exception to Gary Van Sickle's article, which insinuated
that pro golfers are the only sports figures who don't know when
to hang it up at the end of their careers. In 1998 the Atlanta
Falcons signed a 44-year-old quarterback (Steve DeBerg), and
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played NBA basketball into his 40s. In '97
Gordie Howe wanted to play a shift with the Syracuse Crunch so
he could be the only man to play pro hockey in six decades. By
the way, just how old is George Foreman?
LANE SKYLES, Clear Lake City, Texas

Why do sportswriters say that going out on top is the preferred
conclusion to the career of an athlete? When is the last time a
sportswriter quit after his best article?


COLOR PHOTO: JACQUELINE DUVOISIN Should Arnold Palmer still be playing competitive golf?


I have never been more touched by an article than I was by the
one describing how Melvin Whitaker turned his life around
(Old-Style Redemption, Feb. 22). Even if Melvin never gets his
game back, he has gotten his life back.
CHARLES FASCIANO, Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.