I am not old enough to have watched the man play, but your story on Bill Russell gave me goose bumps
—Steve Rubin, Boulder, Colo.
No Peer As a Winner
I'm saving the issue with Bill Russell on the cover so that my sons, who are now two and four, can read the article when they are older (The Ring Leader, May 10). As they learn about Boston sports icons past, present and future, I'll be able to point to Russell's career on and off the court as the one to emulate. He is the antidote to selfishness and racism in sports and in life.
Rita Gildea, Boston
Frank Deford's article on Russell should be posted on the bulletin board in every NBA locker room. Russell understood what it took to be a champion without engaging in the terrible behavior of today's pro basketball stars. Not one Mutombo finger-wagging incident, not one hint of Rodman cross-dressing, not one Sprewell chokehold. Current players need to learn from Russell the intangibles of how to become a champion.
Steve Harrison, Killen, Ala.
As a long-standing Lakers fan, I absolutely knew that when Russell loped onto the court, the Celtics would win.
Rick P. Lantz, Palm Springs, Calif.
I remember when I was a child asking Russell for an autograph. He politely refused and offered instead a solid handshake backed up by a seemingly endless period of kind eye contact. I'm sure that I would have lost the autograph long ago, but I cherish the handshake to this day.
J. Randall Minchew, Leesburg, Va.
Death at the Track
As a lifelong subscriber I have always admired your photographic sense. However, the picture chosen to illustrate the item about the tragedy at Lowe's Motor Speedway was inappropriate (INSIDE MOTOR SPORTS, May 10). While your reportage of the event and your call for new safety measures were in line with your mission, I doubt readers needed to have the point hammered home with a photo of two of the victims lying dead.
E.S. MacDonell, Portland
I am sure track president H.A. Wheeler would have changed his tune had the victims been members of his family. He should be made to carry a copy of that photo with him until he and everyone else in the racing community realize that the casualties at these races are people with lives, not just a consequence of the "black side" of motor sports.
Shane Roch, San Marcos, Texas
We in Slovakia have so few world-class sports stars, it hurts when you deprive us of any of them (INSIDE THE NHL, May 10). Right wing Zigmund Palffy did not play for the Czechs in the ice hockey world championships because he is not Czech! Palffy and a dozen other NHLers, including Peter Bondra, Zdeno Chara, Pavol Demitra, Marian Hossa, Miroslav Satan, Jozef Stumpel and Richard Zednik—all of whom have been mentioned in SI over the past two to three years—are Slovak.
Rick Zednik, Bratislava, Slovakia
I was reluctant to read your article about John Stockton (Keep It Simple, May 10). I am a devout San Antonio Spurs fan and have no love for the Utah Jazz. However, upon completing the story, I realized I am an even bigger fan of people (in any profession) such as Stockton who enjoy huge amounts of success and continue to exhibit a humble attitude. Sounds as if he had a good ol'-fashioned upbringing as well. Boy, do kids need that these days!
Eric Fields, Lewisville, Texas
A career's worth of hard-nosed, fundamental play, coupled with pinpoint passes, gritty determination and being a coach on the floor will earn you promotion to the title of Floor General. All young players should emulate Stockton.
Alex Marks, Sterling, Ill.