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Lakers Postmortem

Put an asterisk next to the L.A. Lakers' last two titles (Double
Dip, June 25). At the bottom of the page it should have read,
"Shaquille O'Neal was permitted to use his bulk to knock his
opponents off their legal defensive positions, resulting in many
easy shots." To his credit, O'Neal is developing some legal
low-post moves. If he continues and the Lakers dominate again,
I'll consider them one of the greatest teams ever. Until then, no
ADRIAN GRIFFIN, Hobe Sound, Fla.

Shaq rarely makes a move in traffic without committing an
offensive foul, and he takes more steps than Allen Iverson. As
for his influence on the game, it's hard to imagine kids on
playgrounds exclaiming, "I want to play like Shaq!"
MICK ANDREWS, Winter Park, Fla.

Allowing a player to shove another player in the face and to dunk
over him is not basketball; it's thuggery and one reason the NBA
has lost fans, including me.
J.D. EVANS, Richland, Wash.

Heads, I win. Tails, you lose. SI said at the end of the NBA's
regular season that Phil Jackson deserved the blame for the
dysfunction of the underperforming Lakers (INSIDE THE NBA, April
23). Then his team waltzes through the playoffs practicing Phil
Jackson defense, using role players beautifully, and you don't
mention his name.
LEON HOWELL, Silver Spring, Md.

Good Handle, Serious Hops

Alexander Wolff's article about scouting for the NBA was one of
the best things I have seen in your magazine in ages (Your Lyin'
Eyes, June 25). He got inside the games and helped regular fans
understand things we couldn't see on our own.
JOE BAUER, Middleton, Wis.

Wolff's report on NBA scouting made my week. While Jason Hart led
Syracuse's offense, for four years I drove my family and other
Orange fans nuts raving about Jason's defensive play. It was like
watching a training video on how to play defense. The comments by
NBA scout "Finch" on Jason proved me right. Now I can shut up!
ROB SCHOFFEL, Trumansburg, N.Y.

Meat Markets

Great job by George Dohrmann on the football camps (Sweat
Shopping, June 25). As a participant in several of these camps,
including last year's UCLA camp and this year's camp at USC, I've
seen what he described. The studs are chatted up by coaches
during warmups and given individual instruction, while
participants who go to the camps to improve themselves are often
ignored or, at best, given cursory tips. Campers are not treated
equally, and anyone who says they are is wrong.
PAUL ESCOBAR, Burbank, Calif.

If the NCAA stipulates that schools cannot use camps to evaluate
or recruit players under consideration for scholarships, and if
Steve Mallonee, the NCAA's director of membership services, is
correct in saying, "The intent of the camps should be purely
instructional," then institute a rule stating that schools are
not allowed to offer a scholarship to anyone attending their
camps. Voila! The problem disappears, along with the hypocrisy.

Peak Performers

Your "Sport? Not a Sport?" feature never fails to make me laugh
(SCORECARD, June 25). I don't know or care if mountain climbing
is a "sport," and whether it is sane is debatable. But I do know
that Brewers reliever David Weathers's suggestion that people
like Conrad Anker, Alex Lowe and Reinhold Messner aren't athletes
is silly. If these guys (Anker is an amazing skier; the late Lowe
could do more pull-ups one-armed than most people will ever do
with two) don't qualify as athletes, where does that leave
baseball players?

Family Man

Phil Mickelson should be applauded for making time for his family
(Back from the Dead, June 25). Didn't you publish an article on
athletes who fathered children out of wedlock and then ignored
them? Yet you jeer someone for throwing a birthday party for his
two-year-old daughter. Phil is the type of athlete we should look
up to.
BLAKE BUCHANAN, Hartsville, S.C.


Clutch Hitter

Jack McCallum's story about major league pinch hitters (Waiting
Game, June 25) brought back memories of my attending games at
Ebbets Field during the 1930s. In '32 Johnny Frederick (above) of
the Brooklyn Dodgers hit six pinch-hit home runs, eclipsing a
season record that had lasted 19 years. It is also interesting to
note that Frederick in 1929 established a rookie record of 52
doubles, which still stands.
HERM BRUNOTTE, Town of Tonawanda, N.Y.