Thursday's Edition, October 16th, 2003 Window Rock, Arizona, Navajo Nation, Arizona 86515-0310
Nuggets give tryout chance to Navajo/Oglala Lakota
Warlance Foster was invited to an NBA tryout with the Denver Nuggets by general manager Kiki Vandeweghe, a former UCLA and NBA standout. (Courtesy photo)
DENVER - On Columbus Day, on his national radio news show, Paul Harvey said that Warlance Foster could be the Jackie Robinson of the NBA, according to a press release from the Denver Nuggets.
Harvey said, "The Denver Nuggets of the NBA is making history today. Warlance Foster, that's right Warlance Foster, a Lakota/Navajo, is the first Native American the Denver Nuggets brought in for a NBA tryout at the Pepsi Center."
Kiki Vandeweghe, general manager of the Denver Nuggets, gave the Navajo/Oglala Lakota a chance to try out to be drafted into the professional world of basketball.
The 6-3 guard's grandfather was the late Harold Y. Foster, one of the Navajo Code Talkers.
Foster could break the glass ceiling dogging the native population despite their enormous basketball depth, Vandeweghe said.
After five hours of videotaped tests and 2-on-2 sessions, Vandeweghe said, although Foster can play, it's a numbers game.
"We have too many players," he said. "We were up to 20 players. We've cut down to 18 players. When the season starts, we have to cut down to 15 players. We've asked Warlance to keep in contact with us. We could add him to the roster later. It's not guaranteed, but we'll keep him in mind."
Foster said the tryout was an opportunity for him to keep playing hard.
"Wow, some of those players were my heroes," said graduate of Western State College. "They treated me with great respect and warmth, especially Kiki."
Vandeweghe, a former UCLA and NBA standout, offered to put in some calls for Foster to contacts at the Continental Basketball Association.
Foster's Denver Nuggets' tryout was also motivated by Vandeweghe's longtime friend, Olympic skier Suzy Chaffee, co-chair of Native American Olympic Team Foundation, a partnership of tribal leaders and Olympians, like Senator Bill Bradley and Phil Jackson.
Foster is the first since Tex Hall, now president of the National Congress of American Indians, to receive a tryout offer by the Nuggets or any NBA team.
Pepsi Center owner Stan Kronke, whose Blue Sky Grill reflects his Cherokee heritage, was also a key player for Foster's tryout.
Foster is the son of Len Foster of Window Rock, Ariz. and Teresa Gutierrez of Denver, Colo.
Navajo Times. Window Rock, AZ. 86515
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