I never knew about the physical hazards ( McCallum getting belted in the mouth by Shawn Marion during drills or getting "thugged" by the defense while cutting through the lane) and financial pitfalls (don't ever bet against Amar� Stoudemire in a three-point contest!) of coaching in the NBA. It was refreshing to read about the love the coaches have for a game that unfortunately is operated more and more like a business.
Phillip Tsunoda, Aliso Viejo, Calif.
As a 45-year-old football mom I am not your typical SI reader, but I feel compelled to let you know how amused I was by Monstrous Memories: The NFL Unmasked (PLAYERS, Oct. 31). The athletes' childhood memories of Halloween celebrations had me laughing through my tears. I may just read my son's magazines more often.
Sally DeVol, Chelsea, Mich.
The Heart of the Matter
Ian Thomsen's Change of Heart (SCORECARD, Oct. 31) argues that echocardiograms should be required during professional team physicals. Echocardiograms can detect hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common cause of exercise-related deaths in young American athletes, and also a dilated aorta such as that found in former Timberwolves guard Fred Hoiberg. But what's troublesome about mandatory echocardiograms is that some of the "abnormalities" they turn up are actually false positives. This is especially true in athletes, since strenuous exercise can cause the heart to behave in ways that mimic HCM. Falsely positive athletes are often unnecessarily restricted from competition. Also, believe it or not, screening low-risk people can actually increase medical problems due to complications from invasive additional testing or treatment. Every death in a young athlete is a tragedy, but in trying to prevent these rare events, we must be certain not to create more problems than we are solving.
Dr. Paul D. Thompson, Hartford
Director, Athletes' Heart Program
A Driving Wayne