As exciting as it was to watch the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs (More Fun with the Suns, May 23), the NBA should realize that if it locks out the players, as has been discussed, it will resemble the NHL in another way: No one will care.
Gary Burcham San Diego
Photos like John Biever's overhead shot of the Pacers' Jermaine O'Neal fouling Piston Rasheed Wallace (LEADING OFF, May 23) are what put the illustrated in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. He couldn't have been sitting on the backboard when he took that picture, but it sure looks like it. All I can say is, Leave it to Biever.
Chuck Hadden, Arlington, Va.
S.L. Price has captured the essence of a stellar athlete in Marlon Shirley (The Sprinter, May 23). As a two-time Paralympian in tennis--who happens to be a paraplegic--I enjoyed reading an article that focused first on the athleticism of the person with a disability rather than on his inspirational story.
Karin Korb, Atlanta
Sympathy for the Devil Ray
Poor Lou, feeling down because his Tampa Bay Devil Rays don't win (SCORECARD, May 23). I can only imagine his anguish at being in a game he loves so much and being paid $4 million a year to suffer through it. When I read that he had to eat his free clubhouse meal on a paper plate, I broke down.
William Wagner Las Vegas
Thanks for the awesome article on Johan Santana. (Sweet Sound of Santana, May 23). As a 17-year-old female sports fanatic in Minnesota, I thought I knew almost everything about him, but I found it interesting to learn how he prepares for starts, how close he is to his family and how hard he had to work to get to where he is now.
Heather Gass, Bird Island, Minn.
S.L. Price failed to mention Santana's somewhat less than stellar playoff record--he's won only one of four starts over the last two years. It's in the postseason that a good pitcher elevates himself to the Hall of Fame.
Frank Murtaugh, Memphis
I've heard enough discussion about the Warriors, the Golden Eagles and the Gold--my suggestion for a new nickname for Marquette is the McGuires (Air and Space, May 23). It would be a unique and fitting tribute to their late, great coach, Al McGuire.
Patricia Mabie, Boulder Junction, Wis.
As a retired school principal who, perhaps foolishly, still believes college is primarily a place for education, I want to jump out of my chair and lead the cheers for Tulsa golf coach Bill Brogden, a man who has his priorities in the right place (Life of Reilly, May 23). I would like to shake Brogden's hand and tell him how much I was impressed by his decision to forfeit a tournament so his players could get back to take a final exam the next morning.
Rodger Dalgleish, Portland
This is a joke, right? Coach Brogden gets back-page hero status for running to make a flight when his team is on the brink of taking the title? Brogden spent years recruiting a group of golfers to come to Tulsa to be winners, and at the last minute he quit. That is not noble, it's pathetic.
Jim Everett, New York City
High School Steroids
As a lifelong Connecticut resident, I was left with a bad taste when I saw you picked Daniel Hand High School in Madison as the best sports program in my state (The 25 Best High School Athletic Programs, May 16). Six students there, including members of various teams, were arrested in March and charged with possessing steroids and selling a controlled substance.
Mike Germano, Glastonbury, Conn.
There are few times in sports when something tragic and beautiful happens at almost the same moment. Scott Laio, Boston College class of 2006, lightweight eights bowman, died of apparent heart failure on Saturday, May 14, moments after he and fellow crew members won the gold medal at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. He was 20. His death happened in front of his father, who was watching from the shore, but I like to think that a moment before he left us, Scott experienced a feeling perhaps understood fully only by those who have utterly exhausted themselves in the pursuit of an athletic goal. As his team crossed the finish line, Scott knew the exhilaration all those cold mornings and freezing afternoons rowing on the Charles River could bring. There are thousands across the country who participate in so-called minor sports like crew, cross-country, wrestling or swimming--who are in it only for the love of their sport and the association with like-minded competitors. Scott's passing should remind us that sports news isn't just about high-priced athletes and illegal drugs.
Joseph M. Brennan Sr., Oxford, N.J.
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JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (COVER)
COURTESY OF THE LAIO FAMILY
Laio in 2004.