I hope LeBron James (Ahead of His Class, Feb. 18) and every
other high school phenom turned to page 80 and read the story
about JaRon Rush (Reversal of Fortunes). Talent alone is not
enough, which is why the greatest basketball player ever,
Michael Jordan, has also been one of the hardest-working players
ever. Let's hope LeBron et al. understand the importance of
this. Oh, and if you can shoot from 15 feet and out, it doesn't
NEIL FEINER, New York City
I can't wait for your preschool lottery predictions. It's in the
works, I'm sure.
MATTHEW J. RUTHERFORD, Clifton, Va.
When the next Jordan arrives, we will know. The unique
combination of talent and heart will be easily recognized and
will not be the product of media hype or wishful longing.
BILL SMITH, Midlothian, Va.
In the discussion of high schoolers who were ready for the NBA,
I think you made one significant omission. The subject of a
March 1955 article in Sport magazine titled The High-School Kid
Who Could Play Pro Now, his name was Wilt Chamberlain.
JOHN DUXBURY, St. Louis
Pudge Rodriguez (Anchors Aweigh, Feb. 18) tries to use loyalty
as a bargaining chip for his next contract, as if he's a
throwback to the good old days. Yet he exemplifies today's
typical self-absorbed professional athlete. A larger-than-life
bronze sculpture of himself in the backyard? Perhaps his knee
didn't wear out from the grind of catching all those games.
Maybe it just couldn't handle all the extra weight of Rodriguez
being full of himself.
BILL GWINN, Tigard, Ore.
Mark Cuban may have a point about the quality of officiating in
the NBA (Poll Sitters, Feb. 18). However, until he begins
screaming as loudly at bad calls that favor his Mavericks as he
does at those that go against them, it is hard to view him as
anything other than a big wallet with a bigger mouth.
EUGENE WHITEHOUSE, Marquette, Mich.
You Make Me Sick
In Afghanistan a mother will sell a child for $30 so the rest of
the family can stave off starvation for another month. In New
Orleans retired Ravens tackle Tony Siragusa (SCORECARD, Feb. 18)
is telling the restaurant waiter to "Keep it coming until I puke.
Then hit me again." And George W. Bush says they hate us because
of our "freedom."
JOHN WHITMAN, Peaks Island, Maine
Driving While Irresponsible
Why do we continue to try to immortalize reckless athletes? Mike
Darr (INSIDE BASEBALL, Feb. 25) was described as
"devil-may-care" and as personifying "the spirit of a youthful,
scrappy outfit." How about referring to him as irresponsible?
Darr's death may have been a tragedy, but it was needless and
avoidable. Let's recall the contributing factors: alcohol, 2
a.m. and no seat belts. The real victims of his behavior are the
wife and two small sons he selfishly left behind. Mike Darr's
tombstone should read, HE WAS STUPID, BRO.
JOHN CLARK, West Chester, Pa.
I'm thrilled that Janet Maslin (SCORECARD, Feb. 25) enjoyed NBC's
presentation of the Salt Lake City Olympics as "an exciting true
story as it unfolds in real time." If only the 35 million people
in California--and millions of others in the Pacific time
zone--could have enjoyed the same privilege. Tape-delayed coverage
from Australia was barely explainable, but from Salt Lake City it
SANDY BOYER, Laguna Beach, Calif.
I've been holding my breath for the past two weeks in the hope
that NBC's Olympic experiment of letting the competition be the
drama would work. Even an occasional fan such as Janet Maslin
sees what those of us who love sports have always known--that
sappy stories, heightened drama and Bob Costas's arty prose pale
in comparison with the Games themselves. And with luck, maybe,
someday the Super Bowl game will become more important than the
Super Bowl commercials. A guy can dream, can't he?
DAVID GREENHAM, Readfield, Maine
Just off the Podium
My husband and I agreed that the perfect fourth-place medal (THE
LIFE OF REILLY, Feb. 25) wouldn't be made of lead but would be
one of those 42-pound, polished-granite curling stones. It would
represent the feeling athletes must endure and carry around for
the rest of their careers when they fail to score in the top
KAREN MCLAUCHLAN, Eden Prairie, Minn.
In many ski communities in the Northeast it's referred to as the
BRIAN HILLIARD, Campton, N.H.
At least if you finish fourth in the Olympics you can still call
yourself an Olympian, but finishing fourth in the Olympic
Trials--now that's tough.
MIKE BRAND, Tallahassee, Fla.
COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II