Thanks for Changing the Game (May 5), your feature on the growing
influence of minorities in sports. As a 17-year-old Hispanic male
pursuing a career in sports journalism, I have already realized
the difficulty of even getting started in this business. This
issue will keep my motivation and spirits high for years to come.
Joshua Sandoval, Solana Beach, Calif.
Although I admire many of the people you cited, as mayor of
Trenton (N.J.), I have just one quibble with your list:
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback, NFL Man of the Year and Trenton
native Troy Vincent should have been recognized. He has already
done more to give back to his community than most of us will do
in a lifetime.
Douglas H. Palmer, Trenton
In 1968, when I was 14, SI published my letter in response to
your seminal series The Black Athlete (July 1-29, 1968). I
profusely praised your magazine for its insight and expressed a
young boy's hope that I would one day live in a world in which
race was irrelevant. Thirty-five years later, how sad that we
must still inject the issue of race into almost everything. The
101 people you profiled are notable for their accomplishments and
their pursuit of excellence. It is demeaning to them and puzzling
to me that you feel compelled to place an asterisk on their
collective resume by defining them as "minorities."
Paul Alexander, San Antonio
How could you exclude Nancy Lopez? She was the spark that gave
women's golf respectability and national coverage.
Albert Padilla, Alhambra, Calif.
...John (Buck) O'Neil, the first black coach in major league
baseball, currently the chairman of the Negro Leagues Baseball
Museum in Kansas City, Mo., and an inspirational speaker.
Kirk Carapezza, Wayland, Mass.
...Former Georgetown coach John Thompson.
Howard Kaufman, McLean, Va.
...Gentleman, scholar, NFL Hall of Famer, athletic director at
the University of South Florida: Lee Roy Selmon.
George E. Sturdivant, Tampa
It's frightening that LeBron James could actually make your list
at this early stage of his life, while athlete-actor-civil rights
activist Jim Brown and Wachovia Securities deal maker and NFL
draftee mentor Willie Lanier weren't included.
Bill Futterer, Raleigh
LeBron James is in a spot (101st) that should have been set aside
for someone like David Robinson. I guess inflated ticket prices
for a high school game are more influential than donating $9
million of your own money for the Carver Academy.
Matt McBryde, Abilene, Texas
Some of my coworkers are more influential sports figures than the
people on your list. They are high school coaches.
Ronald Reese, San Diego
Sunil Gulati, executive vice president of U.S. Soccer's board of
directors and chairman of its technical committee, has the ear of
everyone in the sport and served as the deputy commissioner for
the first four years of Major League Soccer.
Steven Vanderpool, Pasadena
Kobe and LeBron might not have had the option of going pro if not
for the influence of Moses Malone and Kevin Garnett.
Sam Wilkening, Grandville, Mich.
Michelle Kwan is the most decorated U.S. figure skater in
history. She has greatly influenced her sport on and off the
ice--and she is still only 22 years old!
Lynn Martalock, Tomah, Wis.
I was intrigued by your top pick of Robert Johnson as he attempts
to bring a successful NBA franchise back to Charlotte, but you
omitted track star Marion Jones. In fact, track stars didn't
emerge on your radar screen at all. Jones represents a powerful
force in an all-too-often-neglected sport.
Richard S. Greene, Cary, N.C.
How can you include Yao Ming, who is a member of the most
populous ethnic group on earth?
Gary B. Berns, Bradenton, Fla.
To include Johnnie Cochran on your influential minorities list
and leave out Muhammad Ali is simply a crime.
Bill Kiefer, Fort Worth, Texas
Magic ranked below folks like Bill Duffy and Venus Williams? At
least you put him ahead of Charles Barkley.
Ralph S. Brax, Lancaster, Calif.
Any list of influential minorities should include Bill Russell,
an inspiration to all as the first African-American to be a head
coach in the NBA.
Gene Walsh, Burbank, Calif.
COLOR PHOTO: TODD A. TRICE (VINCENT) Vincent
COLOR PHOTO: ICON SMI (ROBINSON) Robinson
COLOR PHOTO: GARY CAMERON/REUTERS (KWAN) Kwan
COLOR PHOTO: ETHAN MILLER/LAS VEGAS SUN/REUTERS (ALI) Ali
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