To the editor:
If there's a rating system that grades the character of basketball fans, KU's home crowd would rank at or near the top in the categories of excitement, volume, knowledge and wit.
Ostentatiously reading newspapers while opposing teams are introduced (demonstrating our total disinterest) - this pregame bit of fan participation is one of the funniest things anyone will ever see on TV.
Not so funny is our lust for endlessly hollering "air ball!" after no-rim-contact misses by opposing players. Regardless how brilliantly skilled, every player - including every Jayhawk - will eventually put up shots that miss everything; it's just one of basketball's realities.
It would be sporting and witty to yell "air ball!" just once immediately after the miss. But to keep yelling it each time that same player subsequently touches the ball, this is heckling. Kansas players on the court never heckle opponents, so what is being demonstrated is that KU fans are folks who relish inflicting emotional abuse on visiting players. Is the abuse necessary, or even wise?
Longtime KU fans remember the widespread cold hatred that coach Billy Tubbs' Oklahoma Sooner squads called down on their own school when they would run onto the court and dance mockingly, deliberately taunting the fans of teams they'd just whipped.
The relentless verbal taunting of opposing players by Allen Fieldhouse crowds could be making our Jayhawks a squad that TV viewers around the country love to see lose anywhere, anytime. Why make enemies?