Crunching the Refs
I don't know why Peter King was defending the officials (SCORECARD, Jan. 20). Sure the refs are only human, but shouldn't we expect them to properly perform their jobs? They're getting paid to officiate the game, and there is no excuse for those officials' helping the Giants lose a game.
King writes, "the league has heard renewed cries that it hire full-time officials." Can someone tell me what full-time officials would do 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year?
L. Jon Wertheim wrote an excellent story about Jerry West (The Agony of Victory, Jan. 20). The best move West made for the Grizzlies was when he hired Hubie Brown to coach the team. I hated to see Hubie leave his job as a TV commentator, because he was the most knowledgeable analyst, but now these young pros will begin to learn the game of basketball.
GERALD L. GUINDON, Escanaba, Mich.
Your superb article appealed to the virtual G.M. in me, but I noticed a huge omission. How could you forget that West drafted Eddie Jones? Jones was a surprise as the 10th pick in 1994, but until he was traded so that Kobe could do his thing, Eddie, in his own quiet way, accomplished a lot for the Lakers on and off the court.
STEPHEN KIM, Conshohocken, Pa.
You picked Eddie Belfour as the All-Star goalie (NHL Midseason Report, Jan. 20) although Martin Brodeur has a better goals-against average and more wins. There is an even more powerful rebuttal to your pick on the very next page. Twelve NHL coaches out of 30 picked Brodeur as the best goalie. No one else received more than seven votes, and Belfour was not mentioned once. You'd think after one of the best decades ever by a goaltender—including two Stanley Cups—Brodeur would begin to get his due from the media as the best goalie in the game.
KEVIN FITZPATRICK, Bayonne, N.J.
After reading about Shaq's racially insensitive comments regarding Yao Ming (SCORECARD, Jan. 20), I was reminded of a similarly insulting statement in his book, Shaq Talks Back, about getting "dunked on by a white boy." I don't know whether Shaq understands it, but he is spewing racist comments that, thankfully, we never tolerated from Jimmy the Greek or Fuzzy Zoeller.
Racial insensitivity goes beyond Shaquille O'Neal. The Miami Heat had the profound idea to hand out fortune cookies at Yao's first game. What would have happened if Augusta National had handed out fried chicken and watermelons at Tiger Woods's first Masters?
KYLE WAGNER, Sugarloaf, Pa.
A Wonderful Life
Steve Rushin's beautiful piece on the well-lived life of Buck O'Neil (AIR AND SPACE, Jan. 20) should be required reading for pro athletes. O'Neil's philosophy of faith in God's love of human beings and doing the right thing constitutes the essence of this man of uncommon wisdom.
JIM KING, Mequon, Wis.
Fans have known for the past 50 years that O'Neil is one of the greatest ambassadors of baseball the game has ever known. Thank you for reminding us that he is also a great ambassador of life.
BRANDON T. SHEUMAKER, Atlanta
Rushin's eloquent description of his encounter with O'Neil paints the image of a man of great compassion and overwhelming tolerance. He truly is one of a kind. That's the problem. There aren't enough Buck O'Neils to go around.
DAN ZIMRING, Manhattan Beach, Calif.