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Original Issue


Shock Value

The picture of LeBron James was the third most intimidating to appear on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's cover this decade, ranking closely behind the Troy Polamalu cover in '05 (Crunch Time, Nov. 14) and the Ricky Williams cover in '02 (Faces of the NFL, Dec. 9). This was one of the most powerful covers I have ever seen.
Charlie Greenwald, Westport, Conn.

The description of LeBron James's driving to the basket with such force that he sent a defender flying backward as if he were being sucked out of an airplane hold (The Power of LeBron, Feb. 2) had to have been frightening for Cavaliers fans. Is that the same airplane that eventually will fly LeBron out of Cleveland headed for the highest bidder?
Don Rindfuss, Jamesville, N.Y.

There's no arguing that LeBron is evolving, but he won't scale the championship pinnacle until the Cavs are more than their most important part. Five-on-five has a much better shot than one-on-five.
Brian Prokop, Plymouth, Minn.

Black-and-Gold Bond

As a son of a former steelworker and as a loyal Pittsburgh Steelers fan for 32 years, I can attest to the city's appreciation for the team's hard-nosed work ethic (We Are Family, Feb. 2). Yes, I am very proud of the Steelers' success, but I take greater pride in the fact that they have achieved it with class and dignity throughout the years.
Robert Wissert, Lansdale, Pa.

My wife grew up in a nonsports atmosphere and could only look on in amusement every Sunday in the fall when our three boys and I put on the black-and-gold and settled in to watch the Steelers. After she read your article, she now understands the origins of Steeler Nation's passion and what makes it so powerful.
Chris Sobota, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Misplaced Youth

The Super Bowl preview on the Cardinals (Woe, Be Gone, Feb. 2) says that 94-year-old Nick Barbetta played for the 1925 Pottsville Maroons. They sure made 10-year-old kids tough back then!
Bryce Woods, Sun City, Ariz.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Barbetta watched the Maroons' games as a 10-year-old but never played for the team. SI regrets the error.

Second Opinion

Looking at Jeff Kent's stats and reading between the lines of Tom Verducci's article about him (PLAYERS, Feb. 2), one can easily conclude that players end up at second base only if they don't have the arm to play shortstop or the reaction time to play third base. Not to take anything away from Kent, but it does seem unfair to shortstops and third basemen with better stats when a second baseman is considered for the Hall of Fame over them just because his numbers among second basemen are superior.
Michael E. Tymn, Kailua, Hawaii

Thanks for the tribute to Jeff Kent, one of the greatest power-hitting middle infielders of any generation. It has always amazed me how people have discounted Kent's hitting prowess and instead focused on his prickly personality. He may not have been a great teammate in a social sense, but he always played hard and time will reveal that he was one of the few greats from the Steroid Era not to have cheated.
James Lynes, Keokuk, Iowa

Unmanageable Situation

After I read the excerpt (So, Do You Want Me to Manage?, Feb. 2) from The Yankee Years, my blood boiled like it did the day the Yankees let Joe Torre go. The team got what it deserved last year by missing the playoffs. I love the Yankees, but they did Torre wrong, and I hope Joe put a curse on them when he left.
Phil Rath, Ocala, Fla.

The Yankees lost confidence in Torre as their long-term manager. There's nothing in the rules of business that says management can't change its opinion of an employee. The Yankees didn't torpedo Torre. They just didn't give him what he wanted.
Richard Gebel, Morristown, N.J.

Torre said it wasn't about the money, yet he talks of ad revenue, increased attendance and his World Series bonus. Never once does he talk about what his plans were for the rotation or the lineup or what players he wanted to obtain in the off-season. The question shouldn't have been, Do the Yankees want him to manage? It should have been, Joe, do you want to manage the Yankees?
Bob Corby, Sayreville, N.J.

Who Boo Is

Selena Roberts implies that Boo Weekley is only interested in lining his own pockets (POINT AFTER, Feb. 2), while others like Notah Begay and Alonzo Mourning are interested in serving others. Weekley regularly supports Camp Compass Academy (which provides the means and opportunity for disadvantaged urban youth to experience the outdoors) and the Folds of Honor Foundation (which provides educational aid to children and spouses of fallen and disabled soldiers).
Matthew Benson, Jefferson, Ga.

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