"Even though there wasn't one quote from the man, I learned more about Ewing than I ever knew."
DAREK WILLLAMS, TUCSON
Thank you for Rick Reilly's insightful piece on Patrick Ewing (The Unknown Player, Jan. 17). Ewing doesn't get much press, so the article was as rare as it was well deserved. In an era of overexposed media darlings, we ought to admire Ewing because of his (very) private life, not in spite of it.
Poor Patrick Ewing. He's not flamboyant like Magic. He's not handsome like Michael. He doesn't bust a rap or a backboard like Shaquille. Given these obvious shortcomings, Ewing will have to settle for being one of the most-talented, hardworking players in the NBA, a dedicated family man and a decent, humble human being.
STEVE KNAUER, Santa Fe, N.Mex.
I was a Knick ball boy from 1984 to '87, which included Ewing's first two years on the team. He was always friendly, but I didn't think he had any idea of who I was. Then at the slam-dunk contest during All-Star weekend at Chicago Stadium in 1988, a friend gave me the elbow and told me to look behind me, because somebody was calling my name. It was Ewing, about 12 rows back, waving for me to come up. Startled, I hustled to his seat. He shook my hand and asked how I was and how school was going at Wisconsin.
February 14, 1994
How many NBA superstars would holler in a jammed arena to say hello to a former ball boy? You should have seen the look on my friend's face when I returned to my seat!
BARRY BAUM, Los Angeles
Bob Knight Redux
It's amusing that Frank Deford's 1981 profile of Bob Knight (The Rabbit Hunter, Jan 10) would be reprinted as an SI classic, because it contains perhaps the most-flawed analysis of a college basketball team ever. Deford referred to the 1980-81 Indiana team as a "bunch of nice Nellys" in the midst of "this rather disappointing season." Among the Nellys were future NBA players Isiah Thomas, Ray Tolbert, Randy Wittman and Jim Thomas, as well as Landon Turner, who would have been an NBA star if not for the paralyzing injuries he suffered in an automobile accident, and Ted Kitchel, whose pro career was wiped out by a back injury. These softies went on to win the NCAA title by the third-largest average winning margin in tournament history.
BRIAN KERNAN, Denville, N.J.
Can Indiana explain why it maintains on its stall" anyone who would impart such hateful sentiments about women to young men? Admittedly, not everyone influenced by Knight's "winning" attitude has adopted his definition of manhood—witness coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke—but it is troubling that Knight is permitted to play such a critical role in the development of so many young men's sense of themselves. Oh, yeah, winning is everything, isn't it? Is that the answer, Indiana?
MARY M. SCHWEITZER, Villanova, Pa.
One can criticize Knight's courtside tirades, his ignorance of the press and his public embarrassment of his players, but no one stands with him in shaping lives through discipline.
ERIC PERKINS, Hamersville, Ohio
Dr. Z's Team
I could respect Dr. Z's selection of defensive tackle Tim Johnson of the Redskins over John Randle of the Vikings on your All-Pro team (INSIDE THE NFL, Jan. 10) if it were not for his explanation that Randle too often takes himself out of plays. If Randle does anything, it's give 100% on the field. His motor is always running. I'm not knocking Johnson, who is a line player, but he certainly didn't have the year Randle did.
DAVID C. MOORE, Los Angeles
If Dr. Z thinks that Daryl Johnston is a better fullback than Tom Rathman, then it's time for him to look for a new job.
KEVIN HINSHAW, Mocksville, N.C.
Dr. Z's worst malpractice case was his choice for Coach of the Year. In picking the Giants' Dan Reeves he wrote off the way Jack Pardee held the Oilers together while leading them to their best record ever and the AFC Central title. The Oilers survived a 1-4 start, season-ending injuries to three starters and two key backups, Jeff Aim's suicide, David Williams's much-publicized first offspring and a coaching staff that behaved as though it were ready for the World Wrestling Federation. Pardee was the glue that held Houston together.
DON NORWOOD, Silsbee, Texas
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.