July 24, 2005

Worth Watching?

The low ratings did not reflect my interest in the NBA Finals (Hurly-burly Championship, June 27). The Pistons' Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince and the Spurs' Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan play fundamental basketball at the highest level. Each game was a lesson in team defense. What those who tuned in saw was some of the world's best players playing a team game.

Andy Maino, Los Gatos, Calif.

Jack McCallum's suggestions to improve the NBA (Wake-up Call, June 27) all involved marketing. Here's a suggestion to improve the game itself: Enforce the rules. When a player palms the ball, call the infraction. When a player travels, call the infraction. When the inside banging resembles football, call the foul.

Jim Bendat, Los Angeles

The answer to increasing interest in the NBA is more crowd shots? Nothing is more irritating than being forced to watch sleeping babies, waving fans and players' wives.

Tom Kravchak, Artesia, N.Mex.

The apathy many fans feel toward the NBA can best be summarized by a comment my 18-year-old son made to me while I was watching Game 6 of the Finals and the score was 8-7. He said, "Oh, it must be the third quarter already."

Charles A. Harmeyer Cedar Rapids, Iowa

NBA basketball is predictable and boring. The shot clock and defensive limitations reduce it to a one-on-one or two-on-two game with little passing or creativity. Compared with the college game, the only thing the NBA has to offer is better athletes who can jump higher.

Jim Eisenmenger, Sidney, Ill.


Lessons Learned

I don't know what impressed me most about Jermaine Ewell (Saved by Sports, June 27): his positive attitude during his hospitalization and rehabilitation after an unimaginable beating by five students; his ability to forgive his attackers, who robbed him of much more than his promising football career; or his spending time with his assailant's ailing mother. Here is an athlete to admire. I hope Jermaine's dreams to play football again are fulfilled by a team willing to give him his long overdue chance.

Amy Walker, Chicago

Your article on Jermaine Ewell should be required reading for all high school students, especially athletes. Hormones, alcohol and egos are a dangerous mix. It is important for kids to know that decisions made in the heat of the moment can have lifelong consequences.

Dave Lamb, Downingtown, Pa.


People's Choice

Rick Reilly's column on golfer Jason Gore was another classic (LIFE OF REILLY, June 27). Gore's attitude during his 15 minutes of fame was priceless and refreshing. While his physique is more World Poker Tour than PGA Tour, the entire nation would have been proud to have him as its national champion.

Joe Castelli, Northville, Mich.


Tire Pressure

Let me get this straight. You list Michelin under Who's Not Hot because the company stood up and said that it didn't think it would be safe for drivers to use its tires to race because of the track conditions (SI PLAYERS, June 27). In an era of corporations' putting profit first, you should be commending Michelin for making a decision that put the drivers first.

Jim Dedie, Mechanicsville, Va.


Speed Thrills

Being a die-hard drag racing fan from the first time my father took me to the track as a child, I was able to see Don Prudhomme on many occasions (AIR AND SPACE, June 27). Back then he always raced Tom (the Mongoose) McEwen. I introduced my daughter to drag racing two years ago, and from the first hit of the throttle, she was hooked. This year I took my niece to the track with the same results.

Mark Williamson, Grand Rapids


South Side Story

It wasn't air-raid sirens or Disco Demolition Night that caused the decline in fans' interest in the White Sox (SCORECARD, June 27). Rather, it was a series of bad decisions, including the repeated shifting of telecasts to low-powered or largely unavailable channels, personnel moves that hurt performance on the field and the treatment of high rollers in the skyboxes as more important than the regular Joes in the upper deck. There's no denying that there are now more Cubs fans than White Sox fans. But the mere fact that an anthropological study can be made demonstrates that when not whining about the curse, Cubs fans are mostly concerned with being seen at Wrigley. After all, wasn't it Cubs manager Lee Elia who said that 85% of people in the world work, while the other 15% go out to Wrigley Field to boo his team?

Bob Hoffman, St. Charles, Ill.

There is no basis for the claim that the Cubs have always been more popular than the White Sox. During the 54 seasons that I've been alive, the Sox have outdrawn the Cubs, on a per-game basis, in 24 seasons. While there's no denying that the Cubs have had the upper hand recently, contrary to L. Jon Wertheim's claim, it hasn't always been that way.

Chuck Hadden, Arlington, Va.

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