NBA Nit-picking

Jack McCallum believes (SCOUTING REPORTS, Oct. 29) Mike Finley,
Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki are "a Big Three as good as any
since Bird, Parish and McHale." Hmmm. I know the Bulls have
fallen on hard times, but if memory serves, Jordan, Pippen and
Grant were pretty impressive. Then again, Jordan, Pippen and
Rodman also won three rings.
ALAN BLOOM, Valparaiso, Ind.

You ranked Allen Iverson, the reigning MVP, as the 13th-best
player in the NBA, despite his extraordinary effort in leading
the Sixers to the Finals last spring. The same issue had an
article (Iverson vs. the Zone) on how the new defenses will
affect Iverson. His play has helped change the rules but somehow
hasn't changed your rating of him.
MARK GILMER, Bloomington, Minn.

I just received my issue of JORDAN ILLUSTRATED and couldn't put
it down, but I have one complaint: too many articles about sports
other than Jordanball.

Ian Thomsen, I salute you (Michael Jordan vs. the World)! Since
the night Bob Costas and the referees missed the call, I've been
waiting for a reputable journalist to argue that Jordan's shot
over Bryon Russell was, as Thomsen writes, "preceded by an
obvious foul. If anyone of lesser stature had shoved Russell
aside as blatantly as Jordan did, we all would have chuckled at
his audacity." Anyone who calls himself a fan knows that Jordan
was granted diplomatic immunity on the court.

I appreciate that you rank all the NBA players from one to 348; I
just wish you'd published the complete list. Given that the full
ranking is advertised on the cover, I was disappointed to find
the ratings for only 290 players in the magazine.
DAVE ELLIS, Evansville, Ind.

--As noted on page 117, the complete list of PVRs appears on --Ed.


You ask, Does Shaq get away with murder in the paint (Shaq vs.
the Refs, Oct. 29)? The answer is simple--yes. Granted, no player
gets fouled harder or more often than Shaq, but no player in the
NBA commits more fouls than Shaq either.
KRIS FRANK, Chico, Calif.

If the game were as it is supposed to be, the league would be
more fun to watch, but it's a "show," so the referees protect the
marquee players. We all know it isn't right, but that's the way
it is.
ART LUTTRELL, Kokomo, Ind.

Shaquille O'Neal is a football lineman on a basketball court. The
NBA and its officials need to act soon, before pads become part
of the game.
HUGH SPURWAY, Norwell, Mass.

Defending Middle Earth

How is it possible that Dr. Z did not include the great Eagle
Chuck Bednarik on his list of the best middle linebackers (The
Greatest Ever, Oct. 29)? Sixty Minute Charley played offensive
center and middle linebacker with equal ferocity in a long and
distinguished career.
JULES SLATKO, Holland, Pa.

Any list that has Ray Lewis ranked ahead of Ray Nitschke is a
joke. When I think of real football, Dick Butkus and Nitschke are
at the top of the list.

Bill George, the inventor of the position.
WILLIAM H. IBE, Wilmette, Ill.

Junior Seau.
DAVID A. VAUGHN, Lawrence, Kans.


Though I am a longtime Jerome Bettis fan, I was shocked by his
arrogance and whininess in putting down history's other top
running backs (INSIDE THE NFL, Oct. 29). He complains that no
other running back has succeeded as he has without a star
quarterback playing next to him. What about Barry Sanders? Walter
Payton? While I still feel Bettis is not recognized by the public
as he should be, his attitude makes me wonder if he should be.
ERIC HUANG, New York City

Driven Crazy

I read Chester McGlockton's opinion (SCORECARD, Oct. 29) on
long-drive contests ("How could anything where you stand in place
be a sport?") and couldn't help wonder how he would classify the
way he plays football. Since jumping offside before the snap
doesn't count as actual activity, Chester, you lose credit for
those five plays a game in which you actually do something.
JASON ALLISON, San Gabriel, Calif.

I don't think golf is a sport.
TOM STIGGER, Louisville


King of the Jungle

It was great to see Joe Schmidt (right, tackling Jim Taylor)
included in Dr. Z's picks of the top middle linebackers of all
time. Joe didn't have a colorful nickname or a lot of tough-guy
hype, but he was a superb player for the Detroit Lions, game
after game, during their championship years in the 1950s.
JOHN WHEELER, Naperville, Ill.

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)