Congratulations! I would have thought it impossible to capture in a single photo the essence of all that is wrong in sports, but you succeeded with your cover shot of the Falcons' Deion Sanders (Nov. 13).
JOHN E. FISHER
Instead of Neon Deion and his "juray," you should have featured the New York City Marathon competitor on crutches shown on the Contents page. Enough of sports "heroes" like Sanders!
If only Sanders could take all that "juray" and somehow melt it down to even one ounce of class, he would be someone to write about.
A. MICHAEL TAMBAKIS
I really enjoyed your stories on two of the most outspoken players in the NFL, Tim Harris (Green Bay Sacker, Oct. 16) and Sanders ("They Don't Pay Nobody to Be Humble," Nov. 13). SI should now do a piece on Harris and Sanders having a conversation. The title could read The Green Bay Gabber vs. the Mouth from the South. What a monstrous clash of egos that conversation would be.
December 11, 1989
I am certain that a majority of the letters you have received blasting Sanders for his flash and big mouth were written by the same sort of people who 20 years ago predicted that the Baltimore Colts would shut Joe Namath's big mouth in Super Bowl III.
Play on, Prime Time!
PATRICK J. LESLIE
Mark Spitz's effort to make an Olympic comeback (Bionic Man, Oct. 23) is commendable, and judging by the results of a similar comeback attempt by one of Spitz's 1972 Olympic teammates, Sandy Neilson, he may well succeed. While Spitz was winning seven gold medals in Munich, Sandy was quietly getting three (below left), in the 100-meter freestyle, the 4 X 100 free and the 4 X 100 medley relay. She, too, immediately retired. In the summer of '84, Sandy began her quest for a spot on the '88 Olympic team by qualifying for the '84 national swimming championships in the 100 freestyle with a time (58.30) that was .29 of a second faster than her winning Olympic time of 58.59. In August '86, Sandy came in second in the 50-meter free at the long course national championships, with a time of 26.33. At the Olympic trials in August '88, Sandy again swam in the 50 free, a strong event for the U.S. She missed making the team, placing sixth in 26.04 (the picture shows her father, Chuck Neilson, congratulating her). The qualifying times were 25.50 and 25.57. After our first child is born, in February, Sandy Neilson-Bell, my wife, expects to be back in the swim, training for the '92 Olympics. Here's hoping the Bionic Man and the Bionic Woman make the team.
Jack McCallum's article Mission Impossible (Nov. 6) is revolutionary stuff. An increased emphasis on how to stop great scorers, such as Michael Jordan, is what's going to bring NBA basketball into the spotlight. Fans will always want to see Jordan, Bird and Magic get their points, but what will get the fans to watch the never-ending regular season more closely is better team rivalries like the old Boston-L.A. matchup. Detroit-Chicago could emerge in that mold.
The Pistons can devise any plan they want to stop Michael Jordan's reign, but as was shown in the Bulls' Nov. 7 victory over Detroit, in which he scored 40 points, Jordan can't be stopped. He and the Bulls will be in the finals.
Jordan Rules? Does he ever!
On your Nov. 6 cover, you ask: CAN ANYONE SHUT DOWN MICHAEL? Dan Dakich of Indiana did it in the 1984 NCAA tournament's East Regional, in Atlanta. Your magazine reported at the time that Dakich's tenacious Hoosier-style defense so "confounded Jordan" in the 72-68 Indiana win that he fouled out after scoring only 13 points in 26 minutes. It can be done.
STEVEN S. LOHMEYER
New Albany, Ind.
There is only one man in the world who was able to consistently hold this phenom under 20 points per game: Dean Smith, master of the infamous four-corners offense, during Jordan's three-year career (17.7 points per game average) at North Carolina. Fortunately for Carolina fans, Jordan did get to make the game-winner—a 17-foot jump shot with 15 seconds remaining—for the title against Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA finals. What a shame to harness such talent.
BRAWNER CATES III
A college chancellor (the Reverend Jerry Falwell) dismisses a winning football coach (Morgan Hout) out of sheer expediency and hires a big-name coach (Sam Rutigliano) as a replacement, and everyone is supposed to cheer (Thou Shalt Not Lose, Nov. 13)? For all their sanctimonious cant, I find that Falwell and the "Christian" folk in the athletic department at Liberty University are really no different from their win-at-all-cost brethren at our more established football factories. In the future, please spare us the hypocritical moralizing and self-righteous pronouncements of persons such as Falwell and his Liberty acolytes.
As a lifelong baseball fan and longtime supporter of perennially losing teams, I empathize with Steve Wulf's affection for the 1964 Phillies (The Year of the Blue Snow, Sept. 25). However, I was saddened to learn of Chris Short's tragic situation. Please bring us up to date on his condition.
KENNETH S. GRIER
•Short is still in a coma at Christiana Hospital in Wilmington, Del.—ED.
I read Gary Smith's SPOTLIGHT (Oct. 23) with particular interest because I am a North Charleston resident as well as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. I feel it necessary to comment on the stupidity of his neighbors' standing their ground. If the storm had come in a mere 25 miles farther south, the storm surge in Charleston might have been as much as 10 feet higher than it was. This would have put 15 feet of water on Smith's street, instead of the five he mentioned. The winds would have been 20 to 25 mph stronger than they were. I hope that in any future hurricane, Smith will again play it smart and leave the area, despite having to "lose his manhood."
North Charleston, S.C.
My suggestion for Sportsman of the Year is Oakland A's pitcher Dave Stewart (A Hero Lives Here, Nov. 6). His performance for the Athletics and his interest in the welfare of the city of Oakland, both before and after October's tragic earthquake, make him an inspiration to people everywhere. In an age when many professional athletes have a what's-in-it-for-me? attitude, it is refreshing to find someone whose actions stem purely from a dedication to his sport and a concern for his fellowman.
San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos was reluctant to make a wager with Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson on the outcome of the World Series because "there's nothing in Oakland that I'd want." Besides the World Series championship, Oakland has Dave Stewart.
Oakland's Dave Stewart is a good candidate for Sportsman of the Year. However, I believe your award should go to a Sportswoman of the Year, Steffi Graf. Like Stewart, she deserves recognition for her championship performance, for her consistency and for her esteem for the values of home.
NEAL N. MODELEVSKY
The 1989 Sportsman of the Year is Bo Jackson. True, other athletes have played in more than one professional sport, but none has been as dominant as Jackson. To be an All-Pro caliber running back in the NFL and an All-Star leftfielder in the American League is an unbelievable accomplishment.
New City, N. Y.
Everyone knows it's Bo.
DOUGLAS B. SINGER
Cincinnati coach Sam Wyche led the Bengals to the AFC championship and the 1989 Super Bowl after one of the most amazing one-season turnarounds in sports history—from 4-11 in strike-marred 1987 to 14-5 in '88, including playoff games. Wyche kept his team going with a sense of humor, a mind for explosive offensive plays, and ideas that kept his team close even when off the field (his plan for rooming offensive players with defensive players and black players with white players in training camp, for one example). All this from a man whom most Cincinnati fans, including me, expected to be fired after the 1987 season. And he has devoted his time off the field to helping the homeless. Wyche is a true Sportsman of the Year.
STEWART L. MANDEL
University Park, Pa.
JOHN C. SHELHORSE IV
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.