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Original Issue


Allen Iverson's cornrows may sell tickets, but Ray Allen's sweet
jump shot and composure will one day bring Milwaukee a
--KELLY ROSS, Westwood, Calif.

What Price Glory?

As a former high school athlete (before Nike, Adidas, et al.), I
was appalled when I read A School For Scandal (Feb. 26), which
reveals everything wrong with big-time, so-called amateur
athletics in the U.S. Leaving the serious accusation of
molestation aside, there is so much exploitation that one hardly
knows whom to blame. A high schooler driving a $47,000 car? It's
amazing how much major corporations, school officials, parents,
etc., are willing to be participants in the process.

We've known about greed and corruption in college programs. Now
we learn they may be rampant at the high school level. The
collusion of coaches, educators, parents and sports agents to
profit and win at all costs is despicable.
JO SCHILS, Battle Creek, Mich.

I wonder if Nike or Adidas wouldn't serve Compton better by
donating some paint and library books to the schools instead of
plying the basketball programs with athletic gear.
CHUCK VIEBROCK, Novato, Calif.

When I finished your article, my immediate reaction was sympathy
for John Doe and his family and disgust with the Dominguez High
coach, the traveling team coach, the agents and others. Then I
realized the actual culprits were the shoe companies, whose role
as suppliers of product for potential endorsers makes them not
unlike drug dealers preying on students.
AL CHECHIK, Bayfield, Wis.

Earnhardt Encomiums

Rick Reilly's article about Dale Earnhardt in the Feb. 26 issue
sums up what NASCAR drivers and their fans are about (THE LIFE OF
REILLY, Feb. 26). We accept the danger as part of the thrill.
While the day of his death was a sad one for motor sports, one
can imagine the Intimidator watching from above and thinking,
Damn, that was some good racing.
DOUG SAMUT, Succasunna, N.J.

As a Jeff Gordon fan I did not like Earnhardt, but I did respect
him as a driver and as a great man. We'll miss him.
ANTHONY TURNER, Fort Worth, Texas

From the cover to the Leading Off photos to Mark Bechtel's
article and Rick Reilly's column, your coverage of Earnhardt's
life and death was honorable and, for this fan, memorable.
CLIFF BROWNING, Montgomery, Ala.

Allen's Fan Club

Finally, Ray Allen is recognized for the outstanding basketball
player and individual that he is. In this age of spoiled and
pampered millionaire athletes, he's a breath of fresh air. Then
again, this is something we UConn faithful have long known.
BOB GIACOMI, Waterbury, Conn.

That Time of Year

My first thought on seeing the cover of the swimsuit issue
(Winter 2001) and the caption "Elsa Benitez Heats up Tunisia"
was, Wow, she could heat up Antarctica! You did it again: picked
a winner for the cover. She sure warmed up a cold Nashville day
for me.
LARRY WRIGHT, Madison, Tenn.

The Mediterranean has never looked so beautiful. Triple my
BILL YETMAN, Stamford, Conn.

My 14-year-old son wants to know if he can go on the next
educational field trip with Rick Reilly and his son (THE LIFE OF
REILLY). I want to know if you ever found the bikini tops that
apparently got lost on the way to the photo shoot.
KATHY HEILMAN, Sioux Falls, S.Dak.

Rick, what a wonderful story of your son and his rite of passage
on the beaches of Hawaii. I only wish my father was as liberal
and forthcoming as you are.
JONATHAN D. SMITH, North White Plains, N.Y.

Tell Reilly next time to take his kid to a topless bar. It would
be a lot cheaper, and the message of women as sex objects would
be a lot clearer.
GREGG HENDERSON, Harlingen, Texas

Blast from the Past

I had to write to SI after reading Steve Rushin's Lost Classics
article in the Feb. 26 issue (SCORECARD). As a shy kid I had
trouble making new friends. However, once I brought my new
Mattel football game onto the school bus, I became a hit. I
still have my unit, and every now and then I'll pull it out, put
a fresh battery in it and play. They don't make games like these
MIKE ROBINSON, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio


Driven Men

Reilly's column about Dale Earnhardt (above) not only allowed us
to take a 600-horsepower racecar around the track at 140 mph but
also gave us a peek inside the men for whom high-speed
competition is life.
KEITH E. SKELTON, Glencoe, Ala.