I am not old enough to have watched the man play, but your story
on Bill Russell gave me goose bumps
--STEVE RUBIN, Boulder, Colo.
This is an article from the June 21, 1999 issue
NO PEER AS A WINNER
I'm saving the issue with Bill Russell on the cover so that my
sons, who are now two and four, can read the article when they
are older (The Ring Leader, May 10). As they learn about Boston
sports icons past, present and future, I'll be able to point to
Russell's career on and off the court as the one to emulate. He
is the antidote to selfishness and racism in sports and in life.
RITA GILDEA, Boston
Frank Deford's article on Russell should be posted on the
bulletin board in every NBA locker room. Russell understood what
it took to be a champion without engaging in the terrible
behavior of today's pro basketball stars. Not one Mutombo
finger-wagging incident, not one hint of Rodman cross-dressing,
not one Sprewell chokehold. Current players need to learn from
Russell the intangibles of how to become a champion.
STEVE HARRISON, Killen, Ala.
As a long-standing Lakers fan, I absolutely knew that when
Russell loped onto the court, the Celtics would win.
RICK P. LANTZ, Palm Springs, Calif.
I remember when I was a child asking Russell for an autograph. He
politely refused and offered instead a solid handshake backed up
by a seemingly endless period of kind eye contact. I'm sure that
I would have lost the autograph long ago, but I cherish the
handshake to this day.
J. RANDALL MINCHEW, Leesburg, Va.
DEATH AT THE TRACK
As a lifelong subscriber I have always admired your photographic
sense. However, the picture chosen to illustrate the item about
the tragedy at Lowe's Motor Speedway was inappropriate (Inside
Motor Sports, May 10). While your reportage of the event and
your call for new safety measures were in line with your
mission, I doubt readers needed to have the point hammered home
with a photo of two of the victims lying dead.
E.S. MACDONELL, Portland
I am sure track president H.A. Wheeler would have changed his
tune had the victims been members of his family. He should be
made to carry a copy of that photo with him until he and
everyone else in the racing community realize that the
casualties at these races are people with lives, not just a
consequence of the "black side" of motor sports.
SHANE ROCH, San Marcos, Texas
We in Slovakia have so few world-class sports stars, it hurts
when you deprive us of any of them (Inside the NHL, May 10).
Right wing Zigmund Palffy did not play for the Czechs in the ice
hockey world championships because he is not Czech! Palffy and a
dozen other NHLers, including Peter Bondra, Zdeno Chara, Pavol
Demitra, Marian Hossa, Miroslav Satan, Jozef Stumpel and Richard
Zednik--all of whom have been mentioned in SI over the past two
to three years--are Slovak.
RICK ZEDNIK, Bratislava, Slovakia
I was reluctant to read your article about John Stockton (Keep
It Simple, May 10). I am a devout San Antonio Spurs fan and have
no love for the Utah Jazz. However, upon completing the story, I
realized I am an even bigger fan of people (in any profession)
such as Stockton who enjoy huge amounts of success and continue
to exhibit a humble attitude. Sounds as if he had a good
ol'-fashioned upbringing as well. Boy, do kids need that these
ERIC FIELDS, Lewisville, Texas
A career's worth of hard-nosed, fundamental play, coupled with
pinpoint passes, gritty determination and being a coach on the
floor will earn you promotion to the title of Floor General. All
young players should emulate Stockton.
ALEX MARKS, Sterling, Ill.
You forgot the last number in your "Taking Stock of Number 12"
stats: 0 NBA championships.
JAY CORTEZ, San Francisco
In his May 10 SCORECARD item Greg Kelly referred to college
basketball coaches who leave to take a job at another school. In
this situation players who transfer to follow their coach must
sit out one season. Why? The coach is free to start immediately.
Either coaches should be forced to sit out one year or athletes
who follow them should be allowed to participate right away too.
When an athlete commits to a program, he commits to the whole
package, coach included. If coaches are not to be required to
keep their commitments, why force athletes to?
NICK ENGLISH, Raleigh
Walter Bingham's judgment of Fred Couples, Tom Lehman, Greg
Norman, Mark O'Meara and Nick Price upset me beyond belief
(TEEING OFF, May 24). These players have had tremendous careers
and will continue to be exceptional people, even if they are
less successful at golf. What shocks me is that Bingham chose to
attack some of the nicest members of the Tour. It is
contradictory to use the term washed up and the names of these
five in the same sentence.
ADAM ROTHSTEIN, Jacksonville
Why on earth would Bingham pick such a negative subject for his
column? Predicting that these five classy players won't win
another major is hardly going out on a limb. What does Bingham
gain by criticizing this aging and crippled bunch? One must
wonder, had Bingham written such an article five years ago, would
he have included on his list Ben Crenshaw, who ended an 11-year
drought in the majors the following year with a victory at the
BRUCE LEWITAS, Chicago
ADMIRATION FOR APPLEBY
I was in Australia when Renay Appleby was killed in London last
summer. It was the big story in Sydney that week, and ever since
I have closely followed the progress of Stuart Appleby (Heaven
Sent, May 10). Kudos to you for including in your story a few
lines from Willie Wood, a fellow PGAer who lost his first wife
to cancer 10 years ago. Maybe Wood's insight will prompt the
public and media to quit reminding Appleby of his loss. It's
amazing what people do in the face of adversity, and with his
win in Houston, I'd say Appleby's doing a great job.
JOHN P. WISE, Cincinnati
HE'S SURE ABOUT THIS
Alan Shipnuck is completely wrong (TEEING OFF, May 10).
Spectators are nonparticipants. No matter how vociferous or
numerous they are, they should have no effect on the outcome of
an event. The PGA should rely on rules officials and fellow
competitors to police a golfer's actions.
TOM UNGRADY, Trenton, N.J.
Kudos to Steve Rushin for his story on his golfing follies in
Greenland (Winter Rules, May 17). His description of what
happened when the dogsled raced in front of an approaching tee
shot was the single funniest bit of writing I've read in a
JOHN BRADFORD, Chicago
Rushin captured the spirit of the golf enthusiast. The tale was
an excellent blend of culture and sport.
YOAV SHARON, Skokie, Ill.
Please don't bore me with a sport like ice golfing in Greenland,
which 99% of the population will never participate in.
STEVE R. ECKES, Naperville, Ill.
PICKING SOME NITS
While reading Jackie MacMullan's picks for the NBA's
end-of-the-year awards, I grimaced when I saw that she had named
Allen Iverson only second-team all-league (INSIDE THE NBA, May
10). Though perhaps not the MVP, Iverson is certainly worthy of
first-team honors. He took a perennial lottery team to the
playoffs and won the scoring title. He may not have the golden
boy image of a Kobe Bryant, but he is the most exciting player
in the NBA today.
RAY TARNOWSKI, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
It's too bad that you didn't name the Sacramento Kings' Jason
Williams rookie of the year. Yes, Vince Carter of the Toronto
Raptors had a great season of dunks and slams; unfortunately
that seems to be the only way to win awards these days.
Williams's passing and creativity on the offensive end and the
fact that he is the most important player on his team are
factors you should have taken into account.
TODD PLAGER, Rockford, Ill.
LAST CALL FOR DYNASTIES
It wasn't surprising to see Notre Dame among your list of
favorite dynasties of the century (Our Favorite Dynasties, May
10), but what about Michigan's 1901 to '05 teams coached by
Fielding H. Yost? Over that span the Wolverines went 55-1-1 and
outscored their opponents 2,821-42.
DAVID HAMM, Madison, Wis.
How about two Lakers dynasties: Mikan's, which won five NBA
titles in six years, and Magic and Kareem's in the 1980s, which
won five in 10 years.
CHRIS RAUBER, Santa Clara, Calif.
You forgot UCLA's men's volleyball teams under coach Al Scates.
If John Wooden was the Wizard of Westwood with 10 NCAA titles,
what's Al with 17?
RON MAURER, Buena Park, Calif.
The Brazilian soccer team has dominated world rankings for nearly
two decades and has won four of the last 11 World Cups.
ALASTAIR RODD, Fort Lauderdale
In the 1990s the Stanford men's tennis team has won six
championships in seven trips to the NCAA finals, including four
straight from '95 to '98. Since '73 the Cardinal has won 16
AMOL NAVATHE, Alpharetta, Ga.
Air Traffic Controller
Tom Heinsohn says that naming a tunnel after Ted Williams
slights Bill Russell (above). I have tried to think what
landmark in Boston should bear Russell's name. I suggest the
control tower at Logan Airport, since Russell altered the flight
plans of so many objects in the Boston sky during his 13 years
STEVE SMITH, Ellsworth, Maine