I'm sure you've heard from many members of Red Sox Nation and the Patriots fan club who were scared by the Oct. 18 issue cover, featuring Tom Brady of the Pats and Johnny Damon of the Sox. The events of the past few weeks--the Patriots' win over the Seahawks and the Red Sox' monumental defeat of the Yankees--should put to rest the SI Cover Jinx.
Battle Creek, Mich.
After reading the excerpts from Phil Jackson's book (Scorecard, Oct. 18), I now know why Shaq decided to sign with Miami: to get as far away from Kobe as possible. Bryant is one of the chosen few who received Jackson's tutelage, but when he was asked to do some running, he treated the coach as if his parents had asked him to wash the dinner dishes. If I were Jerry Buss, I wouldn't have hired another coach. If Phil can't make him work, no one can.
Bert Gibbons, Townsend, Del.
I grew up in Los Angeles as a Lakers fan, watching Magic, Worthy and Kareem as they went to the NBA Finals year after year. They knew the meaning of the word team, and each knew what his role was. One man has turned my love for the Lakers to disgust. Bryant should have been traded. I hope he knows that on Christmas Day, I will be rooting for the Heat.
Norinne Bell, San Francisco
I am writing to compliment you on SI Players. I have incorporated many of the workout activities into my daily exercise regimen with great results--although I get my butt whipped each time. Some exercises in other magazines are demonstrated by emaciated models, but watching these NFL athletes in action is the best sales pitch for what they preach: It shows that what they are doing actually works. I'm a 5'5", 115-pound female, not a 6'4", 210- pound football player, but three weeks into my NFL regimen I now have the body I had when I was 18. Next season, could you do a section like that with baseball players? I would love to see Barry Zito demonstrate his yoga moves and Roger Clemens show us his gym routine.
Grace Olson, Los Angeles
Kudos to Steve Rushin (Air and Space, Oct. 18) on his sensitive and well-done column on Manute Bol. Rushin not only describes with compassion Bol's recent misfortunes, he also brings light to the ongoing atrocities being perpetrated against non-Arab Africans in Bol's native Sudan. I have heard that when told that Bol once described killing a lion during a tribal ritual, Charles Barkley said, "Yes, he did it with one of his free throws." Rushin shows a truly humble, optimistic and good man who has the heart of a lion.
Andrew Gross, Haiku, Hawaii
Bol has spent his whole life, not to mention his whole life savings, trying to ease the suffering of people less fortunate than himself. The least the NBA and its players could do is repay the kindness.
Sherrill S. Craig, Raleigh
Standing in a lunch line next to Bol at an airport years ago, after getting over the fact that I only came up to his belt buckle--unusual for me, since I'm 6'4"--I was most struck by his remarkably accommodating behavior and contagious smile. As Rushin's article indicates, Bol's great gift is that he focuses on others, not himself. Would that more of us practiced that same lesson. Let's all hope he fully recovers and continues his wonderful life helping others.
Chuck Mitchell, Tallahassee, Fla.
As one of the lawyers who represented Teddy Forstmann in the action brought by the Connecticut state treasurer (Scorecard, Oct. 11), I write to correct your mischaracterization of the trial as an "investor fraud lawsuit." Before the case went to the jury, the judge dismissed every claim of fraud or deceit as baseless. The claims actually heard by the jury related to claims of breach of contract and duties under the contract.
Shawn F. Fagan, Chicago
In the chart showing how the New England Patriots' record-breaking parade of victories stacks up against other winning streaks (Streakers, Oct. 18), you failed to mention that the North Carolina women's soccer team went on an extraordinary 92-game-winning streak in the middle of a 101-game unbeaten streak that lasted from 1990 to '94. Maybe we should show a little respect for the women's accomplishment.
Scott Phillips, Nashville
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DAMIAN STROHMEYER (COVER)
Mia Hamm was a four-time NCAA champion at North Carolina.