Where Are They Now?
We were looking through some old copies of SI, and in the 1986-87 College Basketball issue (Nov. 19, '86), we came across your "future star" projections. SI clearly knows how to judge talent. Marcus Liberty of Chicago, your featured 12th-grader, and New York City's Kenny Anderson, your 10th-grade selection, are both playing in the NBA. [Liberty is a backup forward with the Denver Nuggets, and Anderson is a rookie point guard with the New Jersey Nets.] Alonzo Mourning of Chesapeake, Va., your 11th-grade phenom, completed his final season at Georgetown and will very likely be among the first three picks in this year's NBA draft. And Damon Bailey has moved on from the ninth grade in Heltonville, Ind., to be a mainstay for Indiana—in only his sophomore year.
Out of curiosity, how are your other three picks doing?
CLIFF AND LARRY WANG
?Barnabas James, who was a 6'4" Los Angeles eighth-grader in the fall of 1986 ("Great agility and quickness for a big man"), is a freshman at Delgado College in New Orleans and played forward for the Dolphins. About our seventh-grade selection, Brian Crow, we wrote: "Great prospect if he sticks with hoops.... Could be an Olympic decathlete." As it turns out, Brian didn't stick with basketball, but he remains a great prospect: He was a tailback on the Orem ( Utah) High football team and is a hurdler on the track team. Finally, Michael Irvin, who as a sixth-grader was our youngest selection ("Very advanced ball handler, great moves, great smile"), transferred several months ago from Chicago Vocational High to South Shore Community Academy, where he played guard during the second half of the season.—ED.
1. Marcus Liberty
2. Alonzo Mourning
3. Kenny Anderson
4. Damon Bailey
5. Barnabas James
6. Brian Crow
7. Michael Irvin
Life after Magic and Bird
The Bird and Magic era may be over for the marketers (Leaving a Huge Void, March 23), but despite age and injuries, Larry Bird still averages nearly 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists per game, and his numbers don't begin to measure his value. Even as he nears the end of his career, Bird is still playing better all-around basketball than all but a handful of NBA players.
Bird has been a tremendous influence on my 11-year-old son Sean's life. Lately, Sean has been doing all of his homework because he heard Bird say that not doing homework is like missing a clutch foul shot at the end of a game. The NBA without Bird? Sean and other kids might stop doing their homework!
Rick Reilly's play-by-play of a day in the life of the Warriors' Chris Mullin was so moving that it gave me the chills (In a Golden State, March 30). I felt as though it was I, not Reilly, who had spent a day with Mullin. As a law student and aspiring sports attorney, I see what some pro athletes go through. Pressures from the game, the media and the fans pale in comparison with those from a disease like alcoholism.
K. VASKEN BABIGIAN
I remember Mullin's playing days at St. John's. I pegged him as a slow kid who could only shoot and would never make it in the NBA. I was telling people, "I told you so" during his first two pro seasons. It never dawned on me that he was fighting daily battles with alcoholism. Mullin should be a model to all. I'm glad he proved me wrong.