The National Basketball Association contacted the State Department to learn more how President Donald Trump’s recent executive order to halt immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries might affect its players.
Among the list of countries is Sudan, and two NBA players have ties to the nation. Luol Deng (Los Angeles Lakers) and Thon Maker (Milwaukee Bucks) are from the six-year-old nation of South Sudan. The country, formed in 2011, is not on Trump’s list, but Sudan is.
“We have reached out to the State Department and are in the process of gathering information to understand how this executive order would apply to players in our league who are from one of the impacted countries,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement.
Maker was at the center of it all when Trump issued the order. He was on a plane back to the United States from the Bucks’ away game against the Raptors this weekend, but luckily he was able to re-enter the US without any hiccups.
The NBA is a global league with a number of Muslim players, born both in and out of the United States. Beyond that, the NBA is unique in that it his fans all over the world, including millions in other countries that the current president has spent a great deal of rhetoric denouncing. If Trump’s actions lead to further restrictions, the NBA and some other professional leagues with internationally born stars could be forced into the decision between a heated legal battle at best, or capitulate to a loss of talent, international respect and basic decency at worst.
Thankfully, a federal judge in New York blocked the executive order on Saturday. It ruled that authorities could not remove individuals from seven countries who had arrived in US airports after the order had been issued. Trump’s White House, as we’ve come to expect, didn’t care.
Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chimed in on Twitter during Saturday’s mass protest of the administration’s policies. He’s a Muslim born American.
People can say what they want, but being denied ACCESS to see your grandchild graduate or to go back to your country is inhumane. #MuslimBan
— R.HollisJefferson (@RondaeHJ24) January 29, 2017