Right on Time
Is it fair to use the word finally in talking about LeBron James's taking the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals (His Kingdom Come, June 11)? Exactly one NBA player had accomplished more than LeBron by his fourth year out of high school, and Magic Johnson did so playing with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes and Norm Nixon.
Lee Caryer, Columbus, Ohio
In your baseball poll that asked, "Which player gets the most out of the least talent?" (PLAYERS, June 11), I was struck that the five players who topped the survey were white—David Eckstein, Jamie Moyer, Craig Counsell, Ryan Freel and Jamey Carroll. We've come a long way, but this poll to me illustrates a continuing stereotype: African-American and Latin players who succeed are seen as doing so because they are more naturally athletic.
Rob Tamayo, Glendale, Calif.
You left one question out of your interview with basketball player O.J. Mayo (PLAYERS, June 11). In order "to win a national championship, plain and simple," which he states is his goal at USC, does he plan to stick around for four years if necessary?
Janet Crenshaw, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Sure, Billy Donovan's change of heart about taking an NBA job caused angst in Gainesville and Orlando, but Bill Syken's story (PLAYERS, June 11) never mentioned the victim in Donovan's flip-flop: VCU head coach Anthony Grant. When Donovan changed his mind, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley was on his way to see Grant, who won 28 games in his first year as head coach and upset Duke in the NCAA tournament; Foley was expected to offer him the Gators job. Coaching and recruiting at Florida may indeed not be as easy as they used to be, but doing those jobs at VCU—or any mid-major—is even harder.
Michael Litos, Richmond
July 1, 2007
In your article about the success of Vanderbilt's sports teams since its athletic department was eliminated (PLAYERS, June 11), credit is not given where it is due. The Commodores teams with the most success are being coached by people hired by former athletic director Todd Turner. As someone who competed on the Vanderbilt golf team, graduating in 2003, and then was an assistant coach with the team for two years, I will continue to pull wholeheartedly for my alma mater. But it's not right to give university chancellor Gordon Gee and vice chancellor David Williams all the credit for what was in place before their "restructuring."
Craig Dunlap, Dallas
The Naked Truth
I am genuinely happy for swimmer Amanda Beard's athletic success and her comfort with her own body (PLAYERS, June 11) in posing for Playboy. But I wish more athletes considered their role-model status when making decisions like hers. Female athletes are admired by our society only when they fulfill cultural norms of beauty and sex appeal. We do not require the same of male athletes. Consider a female equivalent of Randy Johnson—not only would she not be asked to pose for photo shoots, but she would also be ridiculed. For women, athletic ability alone is still not enough.
K. Henderson, Boston
La Wie en Rose
It saddens me that a wonderful talent such as Michelle Wie has been so mismanaged by family and agents. Her controversial withdrawal after 16 holes at the Ginn Tribute (PLAYERS, June 11) when closing in on shooting 88 and losing her tour status for a year only further diminished her reputation. That's the week she should have been attending her high school graduation. Michelle, please stop and smell the roses!
Ralph Cicurel, La Quinta, Calif.
Albert Chen's article about Jake Peavy (Country and Western, June 11) showed how down to earth the San Diego pitcher is. My mother, a physical therapist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, told me a story of how Peavy and a few of his teammates, while playing the Brewers in Milwaukee, dropped by and spent a few hours reading to the children and signing autographs. No media were there to make a big deal of the visit, but it was a big deal for those kids. Thanks for featuring such a great human being as well as a great player.
Brian R. Butler, Oglesby, Ill.
I noticed that Rick Reilly's column about the mock rules we agree to when we enter a stadium (LIFE OF REILLY, June 11) was printed on the back of what was supposed to be a Yankees ticket. I have a ticket just like that one from when I went to a Yankees game on April 7 with my family. Yes, we paid a small fortune for tickets, gas, parking and food. But we came away with memories of my dad's and two younger brothers' first trip to Yankee Stadium, as well as A-Rod's walk-off grand slam. I dare Reilly to show me a better time than a summer evening at the ballpark with friends or family.
David Longnecker, Binghamton, N.Y.
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