Thank you for such an enjoyable article on Michael Jordan, whose brilliance on the court is matched by his engaging demeanor off it (In an Orbit All His Own, Nov. 9). Those of us lucky enough to have played in pickup games alongside Jordan at North Carolina can attest to his passionate love of the game. We have known all along what those who read the article discovered—that Jordan defines the word class. But one thing, Michael: Please tell us you didn't give an autograph to the guy wearing the cap of the hated Duke Blue Devils (picture, page 86). Some things are unforgivable.
It's high time Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas accepted the fact that Michael Jordan is the best thing to happen to basketball in a long time. Johnson feels he finally got what he deserved last season when he won the MVP award, but Jordan was much more valuable to the Bulls than Johnson was to the Lakers. I hope Jordan gets what he deserves this season: the MVP trophy and a spot on the All-Defensive team.
New York a noncontender (Scouting Reports, Nov. 9)? Boston over Atlanta? Golden State over Dallas?
Well, that's O.K., you also picked the New York Giants to repeat as Super Bowl champions, and the Cleveland Indians for first place in the American League East.
It will be Boston, not Detroit, trying to dethrone the Lakers. The Celtics already look better than they did last season, even without Kevin McHale. As long as Larry Bird is on the court, no team in the league is better or more interesting to watch.
Somehow it seems fitting that your cover photo of the World Series champion Minnesota Twins (Nov. 2) shows the logo of the Cleveland Indians—on the fence, way off in the distance, all fuzzy and out of focus. It would seem SI's preseason crystal ball was a bit fuzzy and out of focus, too.
BRIAN J. FAHEY
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Special thanks to Austin Murphy for a terrific article on the Colts and Eric Dickerson (Break Up the Colts! Now. 9). Dickerson's presence has generated a fury reminiscent of 1984, when the Colts were brought to Indy. How satisfying it is to finally read some optimistic predictions for this young, exciting team. We love our Colts and coach Ron Meyer. His leadership and enthusiasm have been inspiring not only to the team but also to the fans and the city. The Colts are confident, hungry and well on their way to putting behind them their image as the laughingstock of the NFL.
Austin Murphy asks the rhetorical question, "What's not to love?" about the Dickerson trade. As a fanatical Ram supporter, I'll gladly inform him. I don't love the fact that Georgia Frontiere, the parsimonious owner of the Rams, couldn't see that for a few hundred thousand more bucks the Rams could still have the ballcarrier destined to become the greatest in pro football history. He was the very heart of the offense, and without him the Rams are likely to finish well behind the hated San Francisco 49ers this season and fail to reach the Super Bowl for the next decade.
LANNY R. MIDDINGS
San Ramon, Calif.
IN DUNDEE'S CORNER
I was managed by Angelo Dundee (The Corner Man, Nov. 2) in the 1950s. I worked with him and his brother. Angelo is a wonderful human being. You just want to do well for him. I retired undefeated. Angelo bought me my robe and my mouthpiece. He always took care of fighters who needed money. He kept a little black book on what they owed him. He hardly got anything back. He is a fine man, and I love him like a father.
As an aspiring playwright, I couldn't help but marvel at the way Gary Smith constructed his piece on Angelo Dundee. By letting his characters speak for themselves while supplying a fascinating structure of style, mystery and drama, Smith provided the reader with an emotionally riveting experience. I laughed and shed a tear or three, but most of all I learned in a thoroughly entertaining manner.
THE BOXING FAN: Where's the story? Am I supposed to bob and weave through a series of disjointed paragraphs to find it?
THE WIFE: Would you let this guy stick a Q-tip in your eye, honey?
THE CASUAL READER: HOW can I stay interested in this guy when the story jumps around as much as Sugar Ray's jump rope?
THE MESSENGER: Get the editor!
THE SUBSCRIBER: Stop the check!
El Cerrito, Calif.
Your special report Agents: What's the Deal? (Oct. 19) at long last brings into focus the growing problem of dishonest player agents. The existence of player counsel allows for a balance in player-management negotiations. However, too many agents are merely experts at player and/or management exploitation. The fact that lawyer Ed King has based a lucrative practice on suing such agents shows just how serious this problem has become. The players, management and the fans are the ones who suffer. As a fan, I salute you.
Your report on bad sports agents (Den of Vipers) would probably have been more appropriately titled The Gulf of the Gullible. Almost without exception, the athletes described, through reasons of greed, indifference or ignorance, refused to take responsibility for and control of their own lives. About all I can say to those "burned" by their agents is that they should be thankful that P.T. Barnum is no longer alive. Instead of putting the blame on the agents, perhaps the athletes should spend some time during their long off-seasons studying basic business principles and concepts. Maybe then they could make their own decisions regarding their finances—a not so novel idea to the rest of us.
JAMES C. CONWELL
I am Tom Collins's sister-in-law. Your portrayal of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a tragic sports hero (A Lot of Hurt) makes my skin crawl. Who made Adbul-Jabbar's deals with the Lakers and made the owners give him those contracts? Obviously Collins is not going to say anything bad about Abdul-Jabbar, but Abdul-Jabbar's true character was revealed when he withdrew from the partnerships Collins had set up, leaving others—Alex English, Terry Cummings and Ralph Sampson—holding the bag.
Abdul-Jabbar is far from broke; Collins has lost everything. The one big mistake Collins made is one others have made also—thinking that Abdul-Jabbar is godlike. I'd like to know what Abdul-Jabbar has ever done for anyone other than himself.
MANSFIELD ON MEGGYESY
David Remnick's article (Still on the Outside, Oct. 5) about former NFL player Dave Meggyesy states that Meggyesy's book, Out of Their League, "changed the way we think about the most popular spectator sport in the country." It did not change my view. Meggyesy's description of what was going on inside the NFL during the 1960s did not even vaguely resemble reality. It was popular at the time to attack institutions, but he carried it too far. He sounds even today as if he's trapped in some radical college sociology class from the 1960s, with his talk of football emerging from Social Darwinism and the industrial period in American history, and its being based on violence. Meggyesy indicts the whole system because of his own inability to handle the essential reason for professional football's existence: the fans' love of the game and their willingness to pay for it.
Football emerged from man's need to test his fortitude and character and his willingness to "pay a price" for achievement. Evidently Meggyesy did not have enough of these characteristics.
Pittsburgh Steelers 1964-77
Gail Gilchriest's FIRST PERSON account (Nov. 2) of the fishing adventures of Les Girls was most enjoyable to me, as I am also one of a group of five girls who have been hooked on fishing—for a couple of decades. We, too, have told "artistic" stories, but I am enclosing a picture (below) that doesn't lie. It was taken in November 1975, when striped bass were still plentiful along the New Jersey coast. That is Nancy Ewing, my sister and one of the five, on the right, next to me.
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