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Mixed Nets

I was very excited to read Chris Ballard's portrayal of the 2003
New Jersey Nets (Rising in the East, May 19). This is a
tight-knit team whose main objective is winning rather than
personal statistics--just like a good college team. The Nets have
chemistry, defense and speed, a lethal combination in the
playoffs. Does the East have a chance in the NBA Finals?
Paul Drexler
Bloomfield, N.J.

I enjoyed your article about how the East has a chance in the NBA
Finals. I also look forward to future articles about how the
Detroit Tigers might win the World Series and how the Cincinnati
Bengals could win the Super Bowl.
Cory Amidon, Tyler, Texas

On the Town

While it's always refreshing to see an article about Canada in
America-centric SI (Air and Space, May 19), it's unfortunate that
Steve Rushin's description of Ottawa read more like a travelogue
of such sleepy burgs as Dubuque, Wichita or Buffalo than one of a
sophisticated and historic world capital.
David Barrans, Ottawa

To suggest that Ottawa is a dull town is ludicrous to someone
like me, who grew up on the mean streets of Ottawa South. Just
last night I polished off two beers, took public transit to one
of Ottawa's many clubs and danced to all hours of the early
evening. On the way home I nearly got into a fight. Some guy was
being so obnoxious that I almost said something. Luckily I made
it home in time for the final round of Jeopardy. So, mister,
before you go putting labels on our city, remember that some of
us are living la vida loca.
Joe Kemp, Ottawa

Derrick's Battle

Stories like the one about Derrick Nix and his daily battle with
kidney disease (Body Blow, May 19) are the reason I subscribe to
SI. I am only 20, but I was diagnosed last fall with end-stage
renal disease and have been on dialysis for eight months while
waiting for a new kidney. Good luck, Derrick. I'll be cheering
for you in the NFL.
Steve Thorpe, Austin

I was disappointed to read that Nix is suing the companies that
manufactured the drugs he took. He should take responsibility for
playing when he knew he was not 100%, or close to it. If he's
going to sue anyone, it should be the doctors and coaches that
let him play the second half against Illinois after he threw up
and blacked out. Will he eventually sue the sporting-goods
manufacturers he's asking to create a piece of protective
equipment to cover his kidney area if that plan proves
Mark Gilman, Honolulu

As an orthopedist dealing with young athletes on a daily basis, I
am aware of the dangers of "medicating" simply to get an athlete
back on the field. Anti-inflammatory medication is used routinely
by millions of patients across the United States, and Nix's story
reminds us of the dangers of this so-called "benign" medication.
Eric Freeman, Oceanside, N.Y.

Arms and the Man

Rick Reilly saved some of his best writing for his description of
mountain climber Aron Ralston's five-day ordeal in the hills of
Utah (The Life of Reilly, May 19). I had been waiting for someone
to give Aron his due, and Reilly did it on one page of SI.
Tom Stigger, Louisville

I think it's obvious who the Sportsman of the Year is: Aron
Sean McGrath, Chandler, Ariz.

Reilly failed to mention that before Ralston left home, he didn't
notify anyone of where he was hiking or when he should return,
making an early rescue, and maybe saving his arm, impossible.
Perhaps if Rick and others look at the whole story, they'd regard
Ralston not as a legendary example of courage but as a victim of
his own careless actions.
Mark Zangrilli, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Did it ever occur to you, Rick, that if Ralston had obeyed the
first rule of wilderness survival--never go alone--he might not
have had to saw off his own arm?
Kelly Rife, Greenville, S.C.

Power Puck Girls

Minnesota has much to be proud of when it comes to the sport of
hockey (Wild Times, May 19), but in your list of accomplishments
you forgot to mention the NCAA Division I women's champion, the
Bulldogs of the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Under Coach
Shannon Miller, the UMD women's team has won the national
championship three years in a row.
Debbie Asbacher, Glendale, Ariz.


COLOR PHOTO: STEVE BURMEISTER/AP THREE-PEAT TIME The Bulldogs beat Harvard for the 2003 NCAA title.

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