The World: Sports, Socialist Style

Ever since their last-second victory over the U.S. in last year's Olympics, the Soviet basketball team has enjoyed a special status in Russia. Feted at home and privileged with frequent tours abroad, the Soviet players have lived pampered lives. Then they started losing games. Suddenly last week they found themselves the objects of a scathing critique on the pitfalls of stardom.

The immediate cause was an ignominious defeat at the hands of Spain in the European basketball championships four weeks ago, an event that had been won by the Soviet Union for 18 years straight. But, said the Communist youth newspaper, Komsomolskaya...

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