To the editor:
Why does the Journal-World print blatantly xenophobic articles such as the sports column written by Bill Mayer (July 11)? The columnist wrote that he supported a basketball team because it had fewer foreigners than their opponents and he lamented the number of foreign players selected in the NBA draft. Though he praised KU basketball's Russian import Sasha Kaun, he took a swipe at Kaun's country of origin, the 1972 and 1988 Olympic champions USSR, mistakenly referred to as "Russia." (There were Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Georgians on the 1972 Soviet team, and their 1988 squad had Lithuanians and Estonians.)
The columnist claimed that the USA "owns" the sport that it "invented." USA Basketball learned four years ago that American players cannot simply slap on the national jersey and expect to be handed the gold medal. Sports teams are not entitled to anything but fair competition; victory must be earned. And the sport was invented by a Canadian, James Naismith.
The NBA didn't collapse after Argentina won the last Olympic basketball gold, nor did it implode after the San Antonio Spurs won three championships with the help of a Frenchman (Tony Parker) and an Argentinean (Manu Ginobili). KU basketball will not suffer because a Russian helped the Jayhawks win a title. All those foreign teams and players did was pave the way for other talented international players to join the NBA or play at American universities. They also helped popularize the sport in other countries and increased the NBA's foreign revenues.
Robert G. Rodriguez,