Reilly's article opened my eyes to a man who is trying to hurt the game of basketball more than help it.
FELIX CASTILLO, WOODLAND, CALIF.
Rough and Tumble
Rick Reilly is right that coach Pat Riley should be held accountable for thuggery on the basketball court (POINT AFTER, Nov. 13), but Riley is only the worst offender in a league in which roughhouse tactics get worse every year. Basketball was conceived of as a noncontact sport. In the early days of the NBA, one would see some jostling under the boards, but the pushing, shoving and hacking that now passes for NBA basketball is a bad joke. It greatly detracts from the enjoyment of the game and makes injuries more likely as well.
Fines for coaches like Riley who encourage these tactics? Absolutely. But the real answer is for the officials to start calling fouls when they occur and to eject players who confuse basketball with wrestling.
TOM MALOY, Muskegon, Mich.
The NBA is supposed to be a role model for kids and is supposed to represent good sportsmanship. However, it doesn't, and that can't be blamed on one coach or team. The NBA is filled with unsportsmanlike conduct: players who take off their shoes during a timeout and refuse to listen to coaches, players who yell at the referees and trash-talk other players. The NBA is not a perfect place, but we can't start blaming that on the style of one coach.
KELLI KLEIN, Montpelier, Vt.
Pat Riley and the Miami Heat are playing the game according to the rules as they exist. I and other fans are grateful for that. Pro sports is about winning games, not popularity contests.
RAY SMUTNIAK, Fort Lauderdale
Congratulations on yet another excellent NBA preview issue (Nov. 13). I especially enjoyed your article on the finer points of the pick-and-roll (The Oldest Pick in the Book). It should serve as a reminder to the younger generation that teamwork and fundamentals are the keys to success and that there are plays other than the alley-oop dunk and the between-the-legs, no-look pass. The pick-and-roll is often more fun to watch than any leap-from-the-free-throw-line showboat dunk.
JOSH POORE, Bedford, Ind.
No wonder the pick works so well in Utah. In the article's lead photo Jazz forward Karl Malone has pinned down the foot of Denver Nugget defender Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf with his own mammoth foot, allowing John Stockton the easy ride to the basket.
RICK TURNER, Eden Prairie, Minn.
The reason the pick-and-roll is so successful in the NBA is that the league does not allow zone defenses. A big reason so many high school and college teams play zone defense is that they cannot stop the pick-and-roll either.
BOB BELT, Colorado Springs
As sports information director at Wilkes University, I was flattered to hear that my school's men's basketball team was going to be ranked No. 1 in Division III by SI (Nov. 27). Unfortunately, when your annual college basketball preview issue came out, it listed Wilkes as Wilkes-Barre (Pa.). While Wilkes is located in Wilkes-Barre, I want your readers to know what my school's correct name is.
THOMAS MCGUIRE, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
I am appalled that any physician could place the team's interest above the health of a player (Bitter Medicine, Nov. 6). While I certainly can't condone the alleged behavior of the doctors mentioned, there are other factors to consider before we play "pin the blame on the doctor."