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New Ball

Alexander Wolff does a beautiful job wrapping up The Other Basketball (June 13), defined so well by And1. I admire these new basketball wizards who have raised fooling around to a new level of excitement and have not forgotten how to simply have fun. Good for them.

Wight Martindale Jr. Gladwyne, Pa.

For nine-plus years I have watched my daughter grow in her chosen profession--public relations and marketing--at And1. How ironic and sad that an article about the company finally appeared in SI one week after she, and 39 other people (including one of the founders), lost their jobs. American Sporting Goods of Irvine (Calif.) took over And1, as noted in your article. I hope the new owners will continue to offer the tour and tapes that reach so many young athletes so that And1 and its revolutionary approach to basketball will be more than just a memory.

Marty Cecil, Galion, Ohio

I didn't know you were going to devote a cover to "This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse." When anyone asks why basketball, especially in the U.S., is going down the tubes, I'll just pull out the June 13 issue.

Rocco J. Buda Canton, Ohio


Founding Father

It is despicable that George Mikan, The Original Big Man (June 13) of pro basketball, had to live his final years on a pension of approximately $1,700 a month. As today's players celebrate their new contract, maybe they should try to rectify this monumental injustice. At least Shaq had the decency to provide for a proper burial.

Errol Frank, Newport Beach, Calif.


Cheery O

Tom Verducci's profile of Sammy Sosa shows how our celebrity-obsessed culture has turned ballplayers into divas (Once Bitter, Now Better, June 13). With his entourage, perks and constant thirst for fan adulation, Sosa is more movie/rock star than athlete.

S.K. Albertson, Doraville, Ga.

I couldn't help smiling after reading Sosa's "I didn't have anything to hide" quote regarding the congressional hearing. He certainly seemed to think otherwise when Rick Reilly asked him to take a steroids test as a show of good faith (Life of Reilly, July 8, 2002). His reduced stats help me understand even more why he answered Reilly's question with such enlightened remarks as "You're not my father! Why do you tell me what to do? Are you trying to get me in trouble? ... This interview is over! Over, motherf-----!"

Marc-Andre Filion, St. Jerome, Que.


Rough Justice

What a good read Steve Rushin gave us with Up and Scrumming (Air and Space, June 13). But let's see: "For 80 minutes you try to tear someone's head off"; "Buck Shelford ... suffered a badly torn scrotum" (that even hurts to type); and a fan promises to "cut my balls off" if his team wins. Gee, where would people ever get the idea that "the game is so violent?"

Nelson Ames, Hamilton, N.J.

It should be mentioned that women's rugby flourishes in the U.S. The national women's squad claimed the first Women's World Cup in 1991 and finished second at the '94 and '98 World Cups. I can't say we have the "scrotal commitment" that Rushin mentions, but the game certainly claims the hearts and souls of the thousands of American women who play.

Kathryn Nichol, Irvine, Calif.


Father's Little Helper

My 10-year-old son and I were watching the Super Bowl when the Levitra commercial came on (Life of Reilly, June 6). We sat there in silence as the announcer listed all the possible side effects. My son turned to me and said, "Mom, I'm never going to take that." Thankfully our beloved Patriots then took the field and the commercial was forgotten. Mental note to myself: It's time for Dad to get more involved in watching sports with the boys.

Marisa Ebrahimi, Atlantis, Fla.

Reilly's column about Viagra and Cialis commercials made me laugh out loud, but when my son heard me and asked to see which article was so funny, I had to quickly flip the page and claim I was reading about NASCAR.

Jeff Ferre, Riverside, Calif.


More Fun?

Looking at the LEADING OFF (June 13) photo of the women's 1,500 race at the Prefontaine Classic, I couldn't help but notice all that the fallen runners are blondes! There has got to be a blonde joke in there somewhere.

Chuck Lundeen, Edmond, Okla.


The photo of the surfer and the runaway Jet Ski that appeared in the LEADING OFF section of the May 9 issue was miscredited. The correct photographer is Brian Bielmann.

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