Your article described a fan's nightmare: an owner who cares not
about winning but about the outfits people wear to his parties.
--PREMAL S. SHAH, Pasadena
This is an article from the May 22, 2000 issue
Kudos to Franz Lidz for his story on Clippers owner Donald
Sterling (Up and Down in Beverly Hills, April 17). I've wondered
what was behind the Clips' perpetual ineptitude. Now I know. Mr.
Sterling, you may be a successful businessman, but as a
basketball owner you remind me of the owner of the Indians in
the movie Major League, cutting costs as if they were a minor
league franchise. Sell the Clippers and give the fans and
players a chance at a winner.
NEIL PIERSON, Pullman, Wash.
Having been Clippers season-ticket holders for 10 years, we have
witnessed the ups and downs (mostly downs) of this team. As our
frustration mounted, we decided to display our disgust with
management by attending the games with paper bags on our heads.
That's how we ended up on your cover. We love the Clippers and
eagerly await the day they are a winning team and franchise.
RICK DENNIS (STAPLE THIS!)
LAURA DENNIS (JUST SHOOT ME)
BRAD CURTIS (S.O.S. [Same Old Sterling])
Van Nuys, Calif.
I'm protesting a gross misstatement in your article that says,
"Sterling, a spectacularly successful real estate baron who owns
the Malibu Yacht Club...." It's bad enough to endure the
embarrassment of his ownership of the Clippers, but it would be
intolerable if he was associated with the Malibu Yacht Club.
Although he does own the property where the Malibu Yacht Club
once stood, the club moved more than 20 years ago, first to Zuma
Beach and now to Paradise Cove. Sterling has never been a member
of the club.
ERIC DEAN SCHMITTER
Member and former Commodore
Malibu Yacht Club
Santa Monica, Calif.
On the Other Hand
Sterling is not the worst owner in NBA league history. That
distinction belongs to Ted Stepien, who in the early 1980s
turned the Cleveland Cavaliers into a league laughingstock by
trading six years' worth of No. 1 draft picks for career
journeymen, tried to move the team without informing anyone and
staged classless halftime acts such as the fat guy eating beer
cans. Measured against Stepien, Sterling is Owner of the Year.
HEATH FLORKEY, Travelers Rest, S.C.
I take exception to your naming the Clippers the worst franchise
in sports history. I feel it is my obligation to draw your
attention to the Detroit Lions. This is a franchise that has
employed coaching legends such as Darryl Rogers and Wayne
Fontes. This is a franchise so horrible that Barry Sanders would
rather kick back in a La-Z-Boy than lace 'em up for these fools.
JEFF MOSCOW, West Bloomfield, Mich.
The only people more pathetic than those bag-wearing Clippers
fans are the editors who chose them for the cover. How could you
not select Masters champion Vijay Singh after his gutsy win at
DOMINIC R. ESPERAT, Beaumont, Texas
While it may be easy to question Sterling's personnel decisions,
wasn't it SI who, before the 1987-88 season, predicted that the
Clippers' first choice, Reggie Williams, would turn out to be
Rookie of the Year?
MATTHEW NAPOLI, New York City
I enjoyed your article on the Royals' young outfield of Carlos
Beltran, Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye (Force Three, April 17).
I want to point out another superb young outfield in the
American League Central: the White Sox' triumvirate of Carlos
Lee, Magglio Ordonez and Chris Singleton. They combined last
year to hit 63 homers (same as Beltran, Damon and Dye, but in
242 fewer at bats) and drive in 273 runs. The Chicago outfield
had two .300 hitters (Ordonez at .301 and Singleton, .300),
while Kansas City's had just one (Damon, .307).
JOE SANTORO, Reno
Ivan Maisel's thoughts about trimming the college football fat
to fund men's minor sports are right on target (SCORECARD, April
17). Athletic administrators love to blame Title IX for cuts in
minor sports, but I have yet to hear a reasonable argument why a
football team needs 85 scholarships. If university officials had
the courage to confront football coaches, minor sports could be
spared the ax.
L.B. BROWN, Sherwood, Ore.
Maisel's piece would be laughable were it not scary. Why ruin
college football by taking away more players? Florida had to
hold a nine-on-nine scrimmage in its spring game because it only
had six healthy offensive linemen. How can a team be any good if
it can't scrimmage against itself?
R.C. HEWITT, Orlando
It's sad that I knew you were writing about the Clippers before
I saw their name on the now obligatory fan headgear. They were
fun to watch when they had Kermit Washington and Randy Smith
leaving it on the floor. Alas, then came Donald (above).
STU SMITH, San Diego