Thank you for the long-overdue article on Kurt Rambis (The Eyes Have It, March 19). The contributions Rambis makes to the Phoenix Suns cannot be compared with those of Larry Bird or Michael Jordan to their respective teams. Rambis's talents are not measured in points scored, but in loose balls chased, screens set and rebounds gathered. I suppose I'm biased, for I also have 20/400 vision.
Newman neglected to mention the effect Rambis's trade to the Suns has had on his previous team, the Charlotte Hornets. Ever since his departure, Hornet fans have been gloating that they got a high-scoring youngster, Armon Gilliam, in return for an aging, less-skilled veteran. They seem to have overlooked Rambis's leadership, which was the difference between Charlotte's 20-win success story last season as an expansion franchise and this season's Hornet team, which has the worst record in the NBA.
DAVID M. HALM
VIOLENCE IN THE NHL
There is a relatively simple solution to the fighting in the NHL described by Jay Greenberg in "A Real Spiritual Game" (March 12): Set limits on the number of penalty minutes a player can accumulate over a season. When a player exceeds the limit, he either is suspended for a certain number of games or for the rest of the season, depending on how serious the league is about eliminating the problem. A team limit on how many minor leaguers are carried on the roster would also be necessary to prevent clubs from using minor league goons to start and finish fights and then returning the goons to the minors. When a team has passed its limit, it might lose a roster spot for, say, five games.
Red Bank, N.J.
A three-page article about brawling and mauling in hockey and not one mention of the Philadelphia Flyers?
THE OHIO VALLEY
Your article about the Ohio Valley Conference tournament and the league's Player of the Year, Popeye Jones of Murray State (Seems Like Old Times, March 19), was a prophecy of things to come. Jones went on to score 37 points and grab 11 rebounds in an overtime loss to Michigan State, the top-seeded team in the Southeast Regional, in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
I have been an Ohio Valley fan for 30 years, and I believe conferences at this level never get a fair shake when it comes to selections and pairings in the NCAA tournament. USA Today ranked Murray State No. 144 at the end of the regular season. Since the Racers can never get a major college team to play them on their home court, this rating means nothing. In light of Ohio Valley's success in recent NCAA tournaments, why was Murray State a No. 16 seed? Even worse, Tennessee Tech finished second in the conference in the regular season with a 19-9 record, and despite beating Vanderbilt and Auburn on their home courts, didn't even get an NIT bid.
ROBERT M. AMONETTI
YOUNG, BUT NOT THE YOUNGEST
Your cover story on 13-year-old tennis star Jennifer Capriati (Youth Is Served, March 19) made me wonder whether she's the youngest human athlete you've ever featured on your cover.
PATRICK F. O'TOOLE
•No, she's not even the youngest tennis player. That distinction belongs to Tracy Austin, who was 13 years and three months old (versus Capriati's 13 years and 11 months) when she appeared on the cover of our March 30, 1976, issue. Neither tennis player, though, was anywhere near as young as our youngest cover subject: an unidentified four-year-old martial artist (Aug. 15, '88). There have been at least four others who were younger than Capriati at the time they appeared on the cover.—ED.
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.