I'm sure Shaquille O'Neal (The Shaq Factor, June 17) is a great guy. It's just that he is as bad for basketball as Godzilla was for the Big Apple. The referees consistently allow him to violate the rules by slamming himself against opponents with both his rear end and his elbows. With Shaq, all you get is brute force. Tell him to pick on someone his own size, like a defensive lineman.
PAUL HURST, Plantation, Fla.
I've just seen Shaq bulldoze his way through another playoff series; it will be the last pro basketball I'll ever watch. As for his much-hyped ability, how many shots does he make outside of five feet from the basket?
LEW PREDMORE, Avon Park, Fla.
Shaq constantly complains about the refs when he's guilty of pushing and hooking defenders who are trying to guard him. When he gets the ball down low, he very often walks or, better yet, hops with both feet while holding the ball. The way the refs treat Shaq is like Barry Bonds's getting four strikes so we can see more homers.
DAVID S. HENNE, Florham Park, N.J.
Jack McCallum's article reminds me why I stopped watching the NBA two years ago. The news flash that Shaq "removed the diamond studs that are in both his nipples for no particular reason" before the Finals shows just how low the sport has plummeted.
MORI KRANTZ, Denver
SI should be a part of basketball's institutional memory. To compare Shaq to Wilt Chamberlain is a real distortion. He is not stronger than Chamberlain. Yes, he weighs more, but Chamberlain didn't go through people to score or rebound. Wilt never fouled out, and I think any expert would tell you he played a clean, by-the-book game.
ERIC LUND, Greenville, Calif.
While Shaq garners all of the accolades, Kobe Bryant, at 23, continues to impose his will on the game in a manner that only Magic, Bird and Jordan have shown before him.
SAM FIANO, Fairfield, Conn.
Ralph Versus Refs
For once in my life I find myself in agreement with Ralph Nader (SCORECARD, June 17). I am amazed that there is such a blatant disregard for basic rules in the pros. Many a foul was not called on the offensive player when he definitely ran into the defensive player. Don't you think NBC wanted to avoid televising the Finals with Sacramento—a much smaller TV market than Los Angeles?
JERRY SOLZMAN, Louisville
Who is Ralph Nader to criticize NBA officials when he just recently started following the game? What Nader fails to realize from watching Game 6 is that the Kings hacked the crap out of the Lakers in the fourth quarter while L.A. played good defense. Maybe if Nader focused more on the political arena and less on the NBA arena, he might actually win an election.
NICK LARSEN, Eugene, Ore.
Dishonest officiating in the NBA? Come on, Ralph, tell us something we don't already know.
DAVE UNDIS, Nashville
Brett Brusatori (LETTERS, June 17) would like you to cover only the "real" sports: baseball, basketball and football. I'm sure those "real" athletes would be able to appreciate the skills, strength and peak fitness needed in soccer, track and field, swimming, hockey, lacrosse, wrestling and all the other sports left out by his provincial mind-set. Keep up the coverage of all sports. After all, it is not THREE SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
PATTI O'CONNOR, Warwick, N.Y.