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Original Issue


It's said that if a ref or ump can get through a game without
being noticed, he has done a good job. Perhaps the same should
apply to a parent.
--PATRICK DILLON, Hamilton, N.J.


Hats off for putting the newest NBA superstar on your cover and
publishing an article (Fresh Vince, Feb. 28) that showed Vince
Carter is not just a player who can make fancy dunks but also
one with big-time skills. He'll be a winner in the NBA very
soon. I wish that every time a young talent comes into the
league, he wasn't slapped with the label "the next Michael."
Let's just let Vince be the first Vince Carter.
MATTHEW JOSEPH, Pittsfield, Mass.

According to Isiah Thomas, all Carter needs is "the kind of
publicity machine that Nike's been for Jordan. If he gets that,
in terms of his status as a major star, it's going to be Michael
all over again." Excuse me, Isiah. Last time I checked, Jordan
had six rings, Carter none.
BILL NIEMANN, Dubuque, Iowa

Anyone who follows basketball at North Carolina knows what a
talented player Carter was before he went pro. Tar Heels players
are well-coached and prepared to play the NBA game, both
offensively and defensively.
JIM MAZZEO, Honeoye Falls, N.Y.

You said that after the NBA slam-dunk competition, the Toronto
Sun sports section had a photo from the Canucks-Maple Leafs game
on its front page instead of one of Carter. Fact is, deadline
restrictions forced us to use the hockey picture because the
slam-dunk competition didn't finish until after our first
edition was scheduled to go to press. For subsequent editions,
which would account for 80% of our press run, we had Carter on
the cover of the section and rebuilt several pages inside to
give the story appropriate play.
Sports Editor, Toronto Sun

Bench Him

I'm concerned that you gave publicity to an embarrassing event
in high school athletics (FACES IN THE CROWD, Feb. 28). I'm not
displeased with DaJuan Wagner, who scored 80 points in a game,
but with the basketball coaching staff at Camden (N.J.) High.
The final score of the game was 122-66 in Camden's favor. DaJuan
scored 24 points in the fourth quarter. When the team was
winning by that kind of margin, why were the starters still in
the game?

Mid-Major Mania

Thanks for your wonderful feature on Mid-American Conference
men's basketball (Big Mac Attack, Feb. 28). MAC fans have long
known that their teams can compete with so-called major
conference powers. Year in and year out MAC teams prove this in
the NCAA tournament, despite getting few berths and low seeds.
DAVID SCHAEFER, Hamilton, Ohio

Having attended a small college in the Midwest, I know that
excitement and rivalry continue to thrive in college basketball,
despite the absence of the national spotlight. The lack of
superstars is more than made up for by the passion of
hard-working, bus-traveling, hearts-playing athletes. This is
not the NBA farm system that the media make the NCAA out to be.
MARK HAGGARTY, San Francisco

My Son, Chris

I liked your Traveling Man article on Billy Owens (INSIDE THE
NBA, Feb. 28). However, my son, Chris, has played for seven
teams: the Warriors, Heat, Mavericks, Nets, Bucks, Magic and
Nuggets. Now that's what I call a traveling man. In one year he
played for four teams, but our family is blessed that he is in
the NBA--with the Nuggets, at the moment.

Button Their Lips

As a parent who has violated several of Rick Reilly's codes of
conduct (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Feb. 28), I've got two words for
him: You're right.
MARK SILVER, Timonium, Md.

As a longtime volunteer coach, regularly berated for the unfair
treatment of offspring, I've devised a foolproof comeback to
carping, over-bearing parents: "Thank you for bringing (fill in
kid's name and problem) to my attention. I can see you're an
interested parent with time to spare. Leave your name, and I'll
be sure to sign you up as a volunteer coach next season."
Neither skunk spray nor garlic can clear the locker room faster.
DAVID S. OSBORN, Wayland, Mass.

Reilly mentions a youth soccer coach who head-butted a referee
and broke the ref's nose. I am that referee. Not only was my nose
broken, my septum was also deviated, I sustained a hairline
fracture of my left orbital bone, I needed eight stitches to
close the laceration and my nose is permanently disfigured. I
applaud Reilly's stand on this issue. It's past time that this
sort of behavior received national attention. I hope that referee
abuse will be taken more seriously.


Trade Deficit

Urgent message for the owner of the Toronto Raptors: Keep Vince
in Canada! If Canada loses a talent like Carter, given the
declining value of our dollar, we're not going to be able to
afford to build a contender for a long time.