LETTERS

March 14, 2005

Midwinter Heat Wave

Upon returning home from the dentist after getting my wisdom teeth out, I found the 2005 Swimsuit Issue in the mailbox. I went numb all over again!

David Rice, Columbus, Ga.

I'd like to thank the U.S. Postal Service for keeping me out of the doghouse by making sure my Swimsuit Issue showed up the day after Valentine's Day. Dodged a huge bullet there.

Chad Barker, Seattle

Last year you featured Anna Kournikova, who had a total of zero tournament victories. This year you photographed pretty women with Olympic medals and Grand Slam victories. I like that. Congratulations to Amanda Beard, Jennie Finch, Lauren Jackson and Venus Williams on being true two-sport stars.

Kyle Speicher, Tampa

What a waste! Imagine that space filled not with absurd photos of near-naked women but with the informative, stellar writing I have come to know and love from SI. How do suggestive photos of young women relate to sports and sportswriting? Stay out of soft porn; there are other mags for that stuff. The next afternoon I happily pulled from my mailbox the real reason I subscribe to SI: my regular weekly issue with a nicely written article on LeBron James, which I savored.

Connie R. Wolfe, Ennice, N.C.

I don't know why so many people complain and cancel subscriptions every time your Swimsuit Issue comes out. If girl watching isn't a sport, I don't know what is. Over the course of the 35-plus years I've been reading your magazine, the Swimsuit Issue has been every bit as entertaining as any piece on an Ali-Frazier battle, Montana's Niners or Jordan's Bulls. Please keep it up--for another 35 years, at least.

Jack Saltsman, Seattle

EDITOR'S NOTE: SI gives subscribers the option of not receiving the Swimsuit Issue and having their subscriptions extended one week. This year 30,173 of our 3.2 million subscribers took us up on the offer.

Given all the advertising dollars the Swimsuit Issue brings in, there must be sufficient funds for SI to provide the models with tops to go with the bottoms. As for poor Bridget Hall in the Chilean snow....

Mark Arnold, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.

There's nothing wrong with attractive women--at 47, I aspire to be one--but you're pushing the envelope to sell magazines. This week you're Sleaze Illustrated.

Kim Caston, Dallas

Works of Art

Degrading, demeaning, humiliating. What else can a lifelong Bills fan say after seeing Jessica White, a Buffalo native, with a painted-on Dolphins jersey? Say it ain't right, Ms. White.

Don Vidler, Larchmont, N.Y.

I can only imagine what the great Ernie Banks, had he picked up a brush instead of a bat as a youth, would have said after seeing Anne V in her Cubs jersey: Let's paint two!

David L. Scarcello Buffalo

With Super Bowl XXXIX now only a memory, I was thrilled to see several eye-popping pictures of Anne V. Is there any chance you could print some pictures of the rest of her family? I would love to take a look at Anne I, II, III and IV.

Larry Lasday, North Potomac, Md.

Card Sharks

I finally broke down. I traded my 1971 Yankees baseball cards of Mel Stottlemyre, Bobby Murcer and Thurman Munson for next year's No. 1 draft pick swimsuit trading card of any Czech model whose name ends in -ova and a No. 2 from Brazil.

Stephen J. Salerno, Fort Worth, Texas

In my opinion putting model trading cards in the Swimsuit Issue is in really bad taste. Is my eight-year-old supposed to trade them with his friends? What in the world were you thinking? Does anyone there have kids?

Leslie Sullivan, Huntington, N.Y.

The King James Version

LeBron James (The Future Is Now, Feb. 21) is a perfect fusion of Magic Johnson's pass-first mentality and Michael Jordan's ability to score at will, but before we anoint LeBron as the best-to-be, let's see how he does in the crucible that is the NBA playoffs. Even Michael would agree that at 20 years old LeBron is more advanced than he was at that age. At 19, however, Jordan hit the winning shot in the NCAA championship game in front of more than 60,000 fans and a nationwide television audience; when LeBron was 19, he was home watching the NBA playoffs on TV.

Dennis Brian Caulfield, New York City

Michael Jordan, six NBA titles; Bill Russell, 11. Until James can add championships to his statistics, he's just another very good player.

Jay Wheeler, Kissimmee, Fla.

Regarding Charles P. Pierce's suggestion that James could be the best ever: With all the drugs available to treat male dysfunction, perhaps Pierce's problem with premature adulation can be treated.

Scott E. Copple, Lincoln, Neb.

Getting Badgered

The excellent piece by Grant Wahl on ESPN's Doug Gottlieb's criticizing Wisconsin's Brian Butch (Scorecard, Feb. 21) should be must reading for NCAA athletes. College life is preparation for real life, and failing to meet expectations is a part of it. Wahl deserves credit for keeping the issue in front of us, and when Butch, Greg Stiemsma and Kammron Taylor lead Wisconsin to a Final Four appearance in two years, maybe we'll be sending thank-you notes to Gottlieb.

Bill Te Winkle, Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Road Rage

Thanks for the big eight-page NASCAR Preview (Feb. 21). Couldn't you guys have done better than that? Baseball, football and basketball get much more in their respective season previews. NASCAR is the fastest-growing sport in popularity, and though it will probably never rival the NFL, it will soon give the rest of those sports a run for their money.

Hannah Phillips, Lenexa, Kans.

Thanks for ruining a perfectly good issue with your 2005 NASCAR Preview. In the future please stick to covering human-driven sports and let the auto magazines cover machine-driven sports.

Mike Olson Middleton, Wis.

Juiceball

What is all the fuss about steroids in baseball (Reason to Believe, Feb. 21)? Why would anyone in baseball tell the truth about steroid use? Since the home run has put fans in the stands from the time of Babe Ruth, does it make sense for owners or players to blow the whistle when doing so would mean loss of revenue? The hue and cry only reinforces the belief that Jose Canseco's book is right on. I wish I didn't feel this way, but if the Red Sox can win the World Series, anything could be true.

Dalen Mills, Southwest Harbor, Maine

History will be very kind to Canseco because he has done a massive favor for future athletes. He has done more to clean up baseball than Bud Selig and the players' union ever could, or wanted to. There are hundreds of current major leaguers--very quietly--saying, "Thank you, Jose."

Michael O'Neil Peters, Tucson

Too bad Canseco can't ask Lyle Alzado if he felt that steroids and human growth hormones "stop the aging process, or at least slow it down by 90 percent."

Jim Saunders, Bristol, Vt.

Putting Hockey on Ice

Much as a reputable carpenter won't mask dry-rotted wood with some extra paint, the NHL needs more than a cosmetic, short-term fix (The Death of the NHL and Its Plans for Resurrection, Feb. 21). Blowing up the league and recasting it prudently is the only way the NHL can save itself. When economic sanity returns, let's make sure the new NHL is truly fan-friendly: no more $100 tickets or $8 beers!

John P. Gaffigan, Fairfax Station, Va.

It seems that the NHL threw a funeral and no one came. Ho-hum. RIP.

Jim Riddle, Naples, Fla.

Swimsuit Reality

As a 53-year-old nonsportswoman, I have never bought an issue of SI, but I am educated in psychology. Alicia Hall caught my attention as I was channel-surfing and came upon SI's 2005 Swimsuit Model Search. Hers is the most vulnerable, most powerful face and most moving Everyperson story I have witnessed. I cried when she won. What is so special about Alicia? Her life, her struggle, her raw emotion and her desperation to make good. I don't know if it was acting or set up, but I will tell you this: It was a great story. We have not seen a beauty like this since Gina Lollobrigida.

Alexi K. Hillton, Lanexa, Va.

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COLOR PHOTOJEFF OLSON (COVER) COLOR PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. SURVIVOR Hall outlasted 11 other women to win SI's model search. COLOR PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH

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