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Original Issue


There were many times when I, and countless others, anxiously waited for the next issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, anticipating the delivery of the next Gary Smith feature. Is it in there? Did he once again grace us with his elegant prose and deft storytelling? I longed for the opportunity to drift off and be absorbed by the often gut-wrenching details of his prose. We'll be O.K. without Gary, just a little incomplete.

Thomas Meachum, Palm Harbor, Fla.

Master Storyteller

As I read about Smith's retirement (SCORECARD), I thought how fortunate I was to have been able to read his work for so many years and enjoy the two masters of the long form, Smith and his former colleague Frank Deford.

Mike Perricone, Copiague, N.Y.

My alltime favorite Smith story has to be The Rapture of the Deep (June 16, 2003), about free diver Pipín Ferreras and his wife, Audrey Mestre, and their attempt to break the competitive free-diving world record. I was shaken after reading Smith's words. Over the years his writing continued to amaze me. I want to thank Smith for setting the bar so high and challenging the next generation of writers to meet his standards.

Mark Condit, Manteca, Calif.

Whiffle Ball

I applaud Joe Sheehan for addressing the increasing number of strikeouts in baseball (A Whiff of Crisis). I often hear coaches, players and statisticians dismiss the strikeout as "just another out." However, that couldn't be further from the truth. Every time a player strikes out, he is failing to move the runners on base. He isn't giving the defense a chance to make an error. Whiffs are simply killing the game's offense.

Mike Stickann, Schererville, Ind.

Chinook Disaster

In your article about the U.S. military's workout regimens (Semper Fit), you mistakenly claimed that June 28, 2005, was "the costliest day in the history of the military's elite special operations forces." Actually, the costliest day so far occurred six years later, on Aug. 6, 2011, when a CH-47 Chinook military helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan's Wardak province, near Kabul, killing all 38 people on board, including 25 U.S. special ops personnel.

1st Lieut. Mark Delaney

Fort Bragg, N.C.

Sucking It Up

I loved your feature on hockey players who play through pain (You Gotta Play Hurt), but how could you not mention Ian Laperriere's other famous injury? While playing for the Flyers on Nov. 27, 2009, Laperriere took a slap shot to the face against the Sabres. He lost seven teeth and missed the second period to get more than 50 stitches, but he returned to play in the third period.

P.J. Moore, Georgetown, Ind.

Why is Johnny Manziel wearing Seahawks colors on your cover?

Cody Timmers Chilliwack, B.C.




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What did you think about Kobe Bryant's saying he didn't care about coach Mike D'Antoni's resignation?

Robert Steinhoff Kobe should stop ripping on his teammates and coaches in public and start being a professional. Deal with everything within the organization instead of doing it publicly.

Grace Rusingiza Both Phil Jackson and Pat Riley would have probably won the same amount of games this season if they had the roster D'Antoni had. Talk about unfair criticism.

M KiSi T Maka Lakers fans really don't care either.


Based on ESPN's coverage, only two people were picked in the #NFLDraft: Johnny Football and Michael Sam

Nathan Simmons (@IALPhoto)



FOR MAY 5, 2014