I saw Jameer Nelson in December when St. Joe's played Cal (Full Nelson, Feb. 16). At first I thought he was the team's mascot. Then I thought he must be the 12th guy on the team, a player who never gets in. Then I watched the game, which he won with a meticulous, confident, last-second drive and shot, and I realized that he was, as you acknowledged, "the best player in the nation."
STEVE WELCH, Groveland, Calif.
St. Joe's the No. 1 backcourt in America? Please! Duke has J.J. Redick, Chris Duhon, Sean Dockery and Daniel Ewing. No one can touch that crew. Duke would blow St. Joe's off the court as Redick would light them up from every angle. St. Joe's is undefeated, but they have played no one. Duke has been through the wars and would rip Jameer & Co. apart.
JASON TUCKER, Garner, N.C.
House of Bricks
There is a simple explanation for the lack of scoring in the NBA: drafting athleticism over basketball skill (Scorebored, Feb. 16). The polished games LeBron and 'Melo have brought to the NBA will, I hope, get us to a time when the mid-range jumper, passing and teamwork are again the focus of basketball.
ERIC RELKIN, Edgewater, N.J.
Jack McCallum missed the main reason for the drop in scoring: expansion. When the Charlotte Bobcats begin their inaugural season in the fall, the league will have added seven teams since the Magic-Bird era. As the league expands and more money chases the top players, we see diluted teams. Until the NBA realizes that more is not necessarily better, we will continue to watch boring basketball.
GREG GOODMAN, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Lance in Love
How nice. Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow are the new Bennifer (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Feb. 16). Rick Reilly should have taken a break from fawning over his pal Lance to point out that it was the unsung Kristin, not Sheryl, who suffered with Lance for years as he confronted cancer. It would have been thoughtful of Reilly to acknowledge that while Lance has a house near his three young children, he spends much, if not most, of his time cruising around Europe with his new squeeze.
BILL EVERHART, Dalton, Mass.
Steve Rushin's column on the virtues of baldness (AIR AND SPACE, Feb. 16) brings to mind what my grandpa Leo often said in defense of his follicularly challenged scalp, "Well, you can't have hair and brains both."
JOSEPH OBERLE, Fridley, Minn.
Running for Fun
Anytime you want to see joy in sports, take out SI's Feb. 16 issue, turn to INSIDE THE WEEK IN SPORTS and check out Bill Frakes's picture of those kids about to embark on the final leg of the Mercedes Kids Marathon. Look at all the giggles and smiles on those faces. I dare you to find that in a picture of an adult race.
GREG BORZILLERI, Lake Placid, N.Y.
I want to thank Gary Smith for an informative, thought-provoking and emotional glimpse into what makes Tom Pappas possibly the greatest athlete ever (The Strange Genesis of Tom Pappas, Feb. 16).
TIM LINNET, Corning, Calif.
It's sad—but a reflection of the times we live in—that as I was reading about Tom Pappas's dramatic increase in muscle mass during college and his suddenly resorting to extreme violence in that parking lot incident, I couldn't help thinking "steroids."
THOMAS C. LEE, Chicago
The Swimsuit Debate
After the swimsuit issue your letters-to-the-editor staff probably could use a break. Let me help. Pick a, b or c at random, run through the selection a few times, fill up the space and go home early. "Dear Editor: Your (a. Swimsuit Issue, b. pornographic smut, c. beautiful cover) was barely out of our mailbox before my (a. 14-year-old son, b. slobbering husband, c. 78-year-old grandmother) came into the house with (a. a smile on his/her face, b. a leer in his/her eye, c. a look of confusion). I expect SI to give me (a. sports, b. this annual winter boost, c. more about bonefishing) and less about (a. skin, b. Cody, Wyo., c. supermodels). You should focus your (a. feeble efforts, b. professional talents, c. camera skills) on what I have subscribed for: (a. beautiful women, b. football, c. Rick Reilly). This issue was (a. the final straw, b. the worst ever, c. something to savor). Therefore, you should (a. try to duplicate it next year, b. cancel my subscription immediately, c. focus on the things that really matter). Signed, (Made-up Name here)."
KIM B. JOHNSTON, Pleasant Hill, Calif.