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. pedro_anonimo

    Los Soles is the correct word in espanol for "The Suns". But in this case, "Suns" is a proper noun. "Los Suns" sounds good to me. It's the same as "Los Hernandez" or "Los Gutierrez". Suns is the same as a last name.

    Second point – Los Suns have thousands and thousands of new fans in Monterrey, Acapulco, Hermosillo and Mexico City now. For every white fan who boycotts them in Arizona, they gain 15 new fans in Mexico. Jajajaja!!! VAMOS LOS SUNS!!!!

    May 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sean

    Perhaps we should all go to the Los Sun's games and storm the arena, sit in the seats where we want, and eat the food we want.

    Naturally, they can't ask us for our "papers", otherwise that is racial profiling.

    It's not like they get paid from ticket or food proceeds. It's not like the arena upkeep comes from ticket or food sales.

    Even more, if one of the players gets harmed in the action of us doing what we want, who cares, right?

    Everything is "open" and no enforcement of "papers" should ever occur.

    Lets see how much these little whiny b!tches complain after we take their jobs away from them by not paying for the "papers".

    May 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Common Sense

    Legal Immigrant = You get to stay
    illegal Immigrant = You broke the Federal Law, you get deported
    This applies to all immigrants not just Mexicans. I am not seeing why anyone but an illegal immigrant would have a problem with this...

    May 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. akja

    • Dear President Obama:
    I'm planning to move my family and extended family into Mexico for my health, and I would like to ask you to assist me.

    We're planning to simply walk across the border from the U.S. Into Mexico, and we'll need your help to make a few arrangements.

    We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws.

    I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here. So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Calderon, that I'm on my way over?

    Please let him know that I will be expectin g the following:

    1. Free medical care for my entire family.

    2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

    3. Please print all Mexican government forms in English.

    4. I want my grandkids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bi-lingual) teachers.

    5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and history.

    6. I want my grandkids to see the American flag on one of the flag poles at their school.

    7. Please plan to feed my grandkids at school for both breakfast and lunch.

    8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.

    9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico , but, I don't plan to purchase car insurance, and I probably won't make any special effort to learn local traffic laws.

    10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car has at least one English-speaking officer.

    11. I plan to fly the U.S. Flag from my house top, put U S. Flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.

    12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, or have any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.

    13. Please have the president tell all the Mexican people to be extremely nice and never say critical things about me or my family, or about the strain we might place on their economy.

    14. I want to receive free food stamps.

    15. Naturally, I'll expect free rent subsidies.

    16. I'll need Income tax credits so that although I don't pay Mexican Taxes, I'll receive money from the government.

    17. Please arrange it so that the Mexican Gov't pays $4,500 to help me buy a new car.

    18. Oh yes, I almost forgot, please enroll me free into the Mexican Social Security program so that I'll get a monthly income in retirement.

    I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all his people who walk over to the U.S. From Mexico . I am sure that President Calderon won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

    Thank you so much for your kind help.h

    May 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. crazy

    this is crazy!!! I dont understand why everyone is making a big deal out of this immigration law. This should be implemented in all 50 states.

    May 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. InDisbelief

    I dont get it!! Why dont the Suns focus on winning a championship for once and quit advertising world problems!! Whats gonna happen next year. The Saints wear Jerseys called New Orleans Oil Spill or New Orlean Katrina Saints! HOW PATHETIC!

    May 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john

    This is pure foolish. So they are basically saying they support Illegal Immigrants with a keyword of "Illegal". Illegally here, illegallty multiplying, illegally everything. I hope the Suns lose. Good thing they won't win a championship anyway.

    May 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. arizona - racists

    same state that didn't want to celebrate mlk day.

    May 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James

    Of course NBA players are going to fight this- they're the one's buying the drugs being smuggled in! This is not an eye-opening "wow, if they're against it, I should be too" kind of moment. They are NBA players, who are traditionally known to be less than stellar members of society. That's like fat girls protesting to keep the cake store open. Do you really think they're protesting based on what's best for this country, or what's best for them, specifically?

    May 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. idntno

    If you look at it, we all are ILLEGAS except the NATIVE AMERICANS... Most of you dont care because you are WHITE and wont have a problem with the cops stopping you. This law will promote racial profiling and all of you know it but most of you DONT CARE because you are not latinos/hispanics.

    May 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. janek

    Everybody are screaming Illegal, Illegal.
    Are the Mexicans the only Illegal's here..

    How about all of the Cubans and Haitians that sneak into the US illegally in boats.
    The US has put in provisions to let them stay. (what makes them so special)?.

    The solution is simple people.

    Implement a “Work visa” for the Mexican or anyone else that is will to come and work.

    However deduct from their pay a fee for social services (hospital, schools etc)..

    Countries in Europe do it. (France, Germany, Spain, Italy).

    It is not a complex solution, but the government is to stupid to implement it because it makes sense.

    When was the last time our government implement a policy that made sense

    May 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tcaros

    And Nabisco is putting a new logo on Doritos; "Papers, we don't need no stinkin papers"

    May 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robert

    Excellent decision by the Suns.

    Even Hitler had public support for concentration camps and such. that didnt make it right or did it?

    May 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TK

    Just shut up and play friggin basketball...

    May 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. oc181

    Standing up for human dignity..great job Suns!! Might lose a few so called fans in Arizona but are gaining way many more around the countryand the world!!

    May 5, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
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