Congratulations! I would have thought it impossible to capture in a single photo the essence of all that is wrong in sports, but you succeeded with your cover shot of the Falcons' Deion Sanders (Nov. 13).
JOHN E. FISHER
Instead of Neon Deion and his "juray," you should have featured the New York City Marathon competitor on crutches shown on the Contents page. Enough of sports "heroes" like Sanders!
If only Sanders could take all that "juray" and somehow melt it down to even one ounce of class, he would be someone to write about.
A. MICHAEL TAMBAKIS
I really enjoyed your stories on two of the most outspoken players in the NFL, Tim Harris ( Green Bay Sacker, Oct. 16) and Sanders ("They Don't Pay Nobody to Be Humble," Nov. 13). SI should now do a piece on Harris and Sanders having a conversation. The title could read The Green Bay Gabber vs. the Mouth from the South. What a monstrous clash of egos that conversation would be.
I am certain that a majority of the letters you have received blasting Sanders for his flash and big mouth were written by the same sort of people who 20 years ago predicted that the Baltimore Colts would shut Joe Namath's big mouth in Super Bowl III.
Play on, Prime Time!
PATRICK J. LESLIE
Mark Spitz's effort to make an Olympic comeback (Bionic Man, Oct. 23) is commendable, and judging by the results of a similar comeback attempt by one of Spitz's 1972 Olympic teammates, Sandy Neilson, he may well succeed. While Spitz was winning seven gold medals in Munich, Sandy was quietly getting three (below left), in the 100-meter freestyle, the 4 X 100 free and the 4 X 100 medley relay. She, too, immediately retired. In the summer of '84, Sandy began her quest for a spot on the '88 Olympic team by qualifying for the '84 national swimming championships in the 100 freestyle with a time (58.30) that was .29 of a second faster than her winning Olympic time of 58.59. In August '86, Sandy came in second in the 50-meter free at the long course national championships, with a time of 26.33. At the Olympic trials in August '88, Sandy again swam in the 50 free, a strong event for the U.S. She missed making the team, placing sixth in 26.04 (the picture shows her father, Chuck Neilson, congratulating her). The qualifying times were 25.50 and 25.57. After our first child is born, in February, Sandy Neilson-Bell, my wife, expects to be back in the swim, training for the '92 Olympics. Here's hoping the Bionic Man and the Bionic Woman make the team.
Jack McCallum's article Mission Impossible (Nov. 6) is revolutionary stuff. An increased emphasis on how to stop great scorers, such as Michael Jordan, is what's going to bring NBA basketball into the spotlight. Fans will always want to see Jordan, Bird and Magic get their points, but what will get the fans to watch the never-ending regular season more closely is better team rivalries like the old Boston-L.A. matchup. Detroit- Chicago could emerge in that mold.
The Pistons can devise any plan they want to stop Michael Jordan's reign, but as was shown in the Bulls' Nov. 7 victory over Detroit, in which he scored 40 points, Jordan can't be stopped. He and the Bulls will be in the finals.
Jordan Rules? Does he ever!