Sport: A $4.5 Million Gamble

In Brazil, he was considered so valuable that the government once forbade him to play for a foreign team. In Africa, he was so imposing a legend that a cease-fire was called during the Biafran war so that both sides could watch him perform. But in the U.S., where the game of soccer has been played more for kicks than major-league cash, he is something of an anomaly. So Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known almost everywhere as Pelé, made his debut last week for the New York Cosmos, seeking by his message to establish American credibility for his medium.

By all reasonable...

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