Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky is on leave from his post as coach of the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL to visit his ailing mother in Brantford, Ontario. We wish her well.
Several questions are raised by such an event, and I hope you can provide answers.
1. When does an expat athlete become an immigrant? Thousands of foreign athletes have become famous in the NHL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and other sports in the U.S., while some Americans have done so in Japan, Europe, and elsewhere. Most seem to stay abroad in their new homes after retirement. Am I wrong?
2. Several foreign athletes have turned their wealth toward improving their homelands, even if they themselves haven’t returned there. For example, Roberto Clemente disappeared in a plane accident while delivering aid to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua, and he did much for sports in Puerto Rico. (See the short bio at a fan site for an idea of his charitable giving.) NBA star Dikembe Mutombo established a foundation to improve conditions for the people of Zaire/Congo. Who else has used sports fame to benefit their native soil? I would love to point to their sites and causes to give them a boost.