This year's NBA Finals may be considered Kobe Bryant's finest hour, but something tells me we have much more to look forward to.
Ray Bailey, Ottawa, Ill.
Finally, Kobe put to rest the question of whether he can win a title without Shaquille O'Neal (Satisfaction, June 22). Now he needs to prove he can win one without Derek Fisher.
John Fure, Anchorage
Until playing with the gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic team in 2008, Kobe had not demonstrated an understanding that basketball is a team sport. I believe that without his Olympic experience, Kobe would have continued to be a "me-me" guy and the Lakers would not have come together for the title.
Tom Binder, San Jose
July 12, 2009
Thanks to Michael Farber for reminding Sidney Crosby's detractors that, while his name didn't pepper the score sheets in the Stanley Cup finals (The Pens Are Mightier, June 22), Crosby was able to negate Detroit's venerable top line by playing smart, selfless hockey. If Crosby felt frustrated about his lack of offensive production, he never showed it. He seemed content to grind it out with Henrik Zetterberg et al., giving teammate Evgeni Malkin the time and space to work his magic.
Krista Sacrey, Toronto
Crosby's not shaking the hand of the Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom after Game 7 means that Claude Lemieux is no longer enemy No. 1 in this town.
Brian Barrett, Detroit
What was missing from your photo (LEADING OFF, June 22) of Gary Bettman's handpicked champions? Certainly not any teeth. I also didn't see a scar, bruise or black eye on any Penguins player following what is supposedly the most grueling playoffs of all major sports. Welcome to the new and improved NHL. Can free throws be far behind?
Dean Prutos, Naples, Fla.
The Ryan Way
As a high school senior in 1963--64 I was recruited by several college football programs. But when coaches found out I was married with a child, everyone of them lost interest—except Buddy Ryan (The Joy of Rex, June 22), the defensive coordinator at the University of Buffalo, who offered me a full scholarship. I'm not sure where I would be today—having gotten the chance to earn my degree and go to graduate school—without his belief in me.
Rick Wells, New Oxford, Pa.
As a lifelong fan of the Jets, your story left me with some trepidation about new coach Rex Ryan. Having moved to Phoenix from Queens in 1978, I witnessed his father Buddy's tenure with the Cardinals. He took a losing team and totally demolished it, leaving the Cards devoid of talent and crippled for years to come. When you're winning, Buddy's bringing bravado and camaraderie. When you're losing, it's bluster and bulls—.
Russell Blackman, Phoenix
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