Rants and raves: I enjoyed your column on the Phoenix Suns immensely. Though I enjoyed the ride and all of the characters in '92-'93, this year's team surpasses that team in many areas ("Valley of the Suns," John Dougherty, May 5).
I think when you stay out all night, you sacrifice your durability. Late into the playoffs back then, Sir Charles Barkley, and ultimately his team, fell to his lack of durability. Remember the wrapping of his arm, let alone his most glaring problem: no defense? To listen to him rant on TNT about the current team's need for defense lessens his credibility.
Doesn't everyone remember that it was his blown defensive assignment that led to the out-of-balance rotation over to Horace Grant that led to the last-second dagger from John Paxson?
It is obvious that Barkley's legacy is being challenged. Already, Amaré Stoudemire has shown more maturity in the face of strife in his third year than Charles did cumulatively in his entire career.
Win, lose or draw, I am behind this team for who they have proven to be and the way they lay it all on the court.
Robert W. Smith, via the Internet
All Bark, no bite: I'm so glad that somebody finally said it! Charles Barkley is a big, blubbery, loudmouth egotist who doesn't even root for his own previous team. It sickens me to see him (is he drunk or high on TV?) come on the TNT set and talk about the current Suns team's lack of defense and how his team would beat this one nine times out of 10 -- when his team wasn't much about defense, either.
I thought your story hit the nail on the head by pointing out how Barkley's team gave up 282 more points over the season than Steve Nash's team. Why can't Barkley, who's always saying how he lives here, get behind the local guys? But if he can't do that, why can't he at least give his ego a rest? Charles, you're old, fat and seemingly illiterate.
I don't know if this team will go as far as Barkley's, because the best team in the NBA is arguably San Antonio in the Western Conference. These Suns will have to get by the Spurs to prove they are the best. The best team in the NBA in Barkley's day was Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, which made it easier for the '92-'93 Suns to get to the Finals.
Anyway, I enjoyed your telling comparison of the two teams. If Barkley can read, maybe he will read John Dougherty's column and shut his fat mouth!
Tab Kincaid, Phoenix
SFF (Suns fans forever): As a graduate of Northern Arizona University and a longtime Suns fan, now living in Rhode Island, I couldn't agree with you more.
My son and I purchased the NBA package so that we could watch every Suns game from afar. We noticed that the fans do not seem to be as fired up about the Suns as we are, or as they were in '93.
I have already told my son, who will be turning 13 in June, that if the Suns make it to the Finals, we will do whatever it takes to be there in person at the Purple Palace to help the team and fans feel our enthusiasm.
Eric and Ian Morander, North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Heading off a disaster: Thank you for such a well-written, true-to-life article about plagiocephaly ("Head Games," Sarah Fenske, May 5). As the mother of twin boys with severe plagiocephaly, I am so glad to read this. Since my boys were about six months old, I have read every article I could find on the subject, and yours is definitely the most comprehensive; it accurately describes what the parents and children go through.
When our twins were born in July 2002, we already had a two-and-a-half-year-old son, so we thought we were somewhat experienced parents. By one month old, our twins' heads were extremely flat in the back. We started asking our pediatrician about this and were given the "it'll-round-out" line. By the time the boys were six months old, little kids were commenting about their flat heads.
I went online, and then went to the pediatrician armed with information. She still insisted that their heads would round out, but gave us a referral to craniofacial plastic surgeons at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. The doctors at the Medical Center said we needed to get the boys banded ASAP. Their problems were listed as "severe" (Nolan) and "severe +++" (Nicholas).
The boys were banded just before they turned nine months old. Nolan wore his band for four months. Nicholas required a second band and wore his two bands for a total of eight months. Both received good correction. But I am still haunted that they could have received more correction if our pediatrician had taken our early concerns seriously. I worry that more problems will arise because of their head deformities. And, yes, I also worry about other children teasing them.