May 5th, 2010
10:30 AM ET

Immigration takes center court at Suns-Spurs playoffs

The Phoenix Suns will once again don their "Los Suns" jersey -- this time in response to Arizona's new immigration law.

It’s not often point guards and power forwards partake in politics.

Responding to a recently passed immigration policy in Arizona, the Phoenix Suns will take the court Wednesday in jerseys bearing their name in Spanish.

Robert Sarver, owner of “Los Suns,” said his team will wear the jerseys during Game Two of its playoff matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, which falls on the Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo.

“We are proud that 400 players from 36 countries compete in the NBA, and the league and the Suns have always considered that to be a great strength of the NBA,” he said in a statement.

The move was designed, in part, to honor Phoenix’s Latino community, Sarver said.

The Suns also have a Latin-born player, guard Leandro Barbosa of Brazil. He is one of the NBA’s 18 players from Latin America. Hispanics compose about 15 percent of the NBA’s market, according to the league.

The new immigration law, which goes into effect in August, allows police in Arizona to demand proof of residency. Critics say the law encourages racial profiling. Proponents say it’s a necessary response to stem the tide of illegal immigrants flowing into the state.

The Suns’ protest was roundly supported by NBA players and officials, according to an NBA.com report.

NBA Commissioner David Stern called the move “appropriate.” The NBA Players Association also praised the protest as NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter called the immigration law “offensive and incompatible with the basic notions of fairness and equal protection.”

Added star point guard Steve Nash: “Obviously the passing of the recent bill and what that means to our state, to civil liberties, and the quality and precedent it’s setting, and message it sends to our youngsters in the community, we have a problem with that. It's great that our owner took the initiative and our players are behind him.”

In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Dan Patrick, the always outspoken Charles Barkley said the immigration law offended him, both as an African-American and as a resident of Arizona. He suggested the policy was merely a political ploy.

“Most of those immigrants here are busting their hump, doing a great job, and to go after them every couple of years because you want to raise hell doing something to get re-elected, that’s disrespectful and disgusting,” he said.

Despite that the Spurs will do battle with the Suns at 8 p.m. ET, at least one San Antonio player was able to find solidarity with his rivals.

Argentina-born guard Manu Ginobili said he hopes Arizona can find another way to deal with its immigration woes.

“I hope they change [the law] back to what it was and give the workers the possibility to be legal and pay taxes as everyone else,” he told NBA.com.

Wednesday won’t be the first time the NBA has honored the Latino community. In March, the league held Noche Latina (Latin Night), with Los Lakers, the Knicks of Nueva York, Miami’s El Heat and Dallas’ Los Mavs among nine teams wearing Spanish-language jerseys.

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soundoff (1,270 Responses)
  1. Ye Olde Suns

    And quit acting like you want to just send all these so called illeagals "home". They are from this land not you! Mostly native and spanish names in Arizona cities. Where would all these Immigration reformers be if we had kicked your illegal butts out a lomg time ago? Somewhere back in england probably. Feel free to "just go home"!
    ______________

    Stupid taco. did native americans just spring up out of the soil? No, they immgrated too. "If" you'd have kicked our butts? You idiots were ripping people's hearts out on pyramids when Shakespeare was writing historic works of literature. We pummeled you losers into submission because you're weak and stupid.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Big Jim

    I am just wondering what kind of Immigration Law should Native Americans pass for all the European Invaders??? Shame on you, Drug lords have nothing to do w Immigration,etc... I guess Deutschland in 1938 didn't need a reason either...

    May 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Karl

    Ok...This is the law. If you ask for proof of ID and you dont hav any you will be arrested. That is the law...So we need to arrest Steve...Ok

    May 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ye Olde Suns

    I am just wondering what kind of Immigration Law should Native Americans pass for all the European Invaders?

    ________

    I'm wondering if you have any brain matter in your head.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Fred

    Well so far each time they wear these jerseys they have won, I want to give the credit to the latino fans that support the team, and we leave illegal alone already and stop being hateful.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ye Olde Suns

    Ok...This is the law. If you ask for proof of ID and you dont hav any you will be arrested. That is the law...So we need to arrest Steve...Ok

    ________

    Are you saying he doesn't carry an ID? Or are you just a moron?

    May 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pedro_anonimo

    Steve Nash is a White NBA player.
    He is from Canada.
    He does not look like a Hispanic
    .
    Steve Nash is a White NBA player.
    He is from Argentina..
    He does not look like a Hispanic.

    Maria works downtown at the office..
    She is a legal US Citizen and has brown skin.
    She looks Hispanic.
    She will be stopped by the police.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Eduardo

    michael #669 – dont be mad that an american lost a job to an ILLEGAL immigrant...blame your LEGAL AMERICAN business man that HIRED HIM to do the JOB RIGHT and was not GREEDY to get paid $5/hr

    May 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JoJola

    The whole immigration "law" is just a smoke screen to cover up the real issue the state of Arizona is dealing with. Think about it, why all of a sudden had immigration reform became such a dire need they felt they had to act fast by establishing this law? It’s not like the immigrants just started migrating to Arizona a year and a half ago. Why? I’ll tell you why. It’s because we now have a black president in office, that’s why. This law is just another form of secession by the state of Arizona. Of course, the "non-minority” people have been wanting to get rid of the minority people for quite some time but since the republicans were in charge, they did not want to look like a bunch of racists. But now that we have a black president, all hell has broken loose. Not only has the state tried to delegitimize him by saying he is not a natural born citizen, they want to go even further by passing a law that any person running for a government position must show proof of citizenship, “to their satisfaction”. By establishing their own version of immigration reform, they are telling the federal government, “You are not the boss of me”. So, this is really more about the angry and rebellious bigots who are upset because we have a black president more than trying to get immigration reform.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ye Olde Suns

    Let's just not enforce any laws. No humans are illegal!

    May 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Los John

    Can you citizens of AZ remember your lost superbowl, no MLK Day huh? Your state is only adding to it's racist rep. It took fooball to change MLK day now it's basketball's turn to slam 1070.

    Your elected officials or maybe voters are so ignorant they need to be educated from their sporting entertainment .

    Go Los Soles

    May 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ye Olde Suns

    Maria works downtown at the office..
    She is a legal US Citizen and has brown skin.
    She looks Hispanic.
    She will be stopped by the police.
    _____________

    Not if she isn't being stopped for a violation of some kind. Did you read the law, or are you just an ignorant idiot?

    May 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ye Olde Suns

    Would all the tacos be up in arms if this was targeting redheads? I'm guessing no since none of you seem to have a clue what you're talking about.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. fanatica_de_los_suns

    I just became a fan of "Los Suns". GO SUNS!

    May 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JOHN B

    Lets move all off the latin people to the south west and build a wall ship them out or work them to death.Also take Jessie and Al Sharpton and send them there to I am a angry black man who is tired with hearing spanish as we know they live in black areas and we suffer first.Jessie and Al you both are nothing but pimps you do nothing for our people with this.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
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