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. Phillip

    JAJB BRING IT ON IF YOU WANT ALSO, I DONT CARE
    AND I DONT GIVE A SHI******T IF YOU HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT T-BORN

    May 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. openout

    if anyone who is not native to this land has to leave, I'll see all you white folk back in the white man motherland.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. openout

    hey, but likkerrrrrr this is awesome right?

    May 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AC

    I am a Lakers fan, but it makes me happy that not everybody is full of hate in their hearts, Thank you Nash and Los Suns for supporting the people who did not have the privilege of being born in the USA.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JAJB

    Phillip, exactly what is it I'm supposed to be bringing on? Did you not read my post? Or did you read it and not understand it?

    May 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. openout

    amen ac

    May 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Phillip

    JAJB GO AND CLEAN YOUR AS****S OK AND I DONT GIVE A FU****CK WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY CLEAR ?
    WHERE DO YOU THING YOU NORTH AMERICANS CAME FROM THE SHI******T OF EUROPE THATS WHY I LOVE EUROPE AND NOT THE CR....AP LIKE US

    May 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. openout

    phil is pretty pi55ed about t-born, can't blame him. I'll bet phil's english is better than t-borns spanish will ever be.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JAJB

    Phillip, you are obviously so intelligent with your postings, everybody should listen to everything you say.
    Also, North Americans don't just come from Europe. They come from all over the world. Oh, and maybe you haven't noticed... Mexico happens to be part of North America.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dale

    The few who disagree with the Arizona law are the ones that the media likes so it appears to be more then it is. My Mexican friends – be it they are all of 3rd generation all agree with the Law. The splitting of family's is not nice, but something should be done now or that problem is going to get much worse. If this country doesn't stop being so polictically correct we are going to go down..... the drain

    May 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David in NN, VA

    The good people of Arizona should stop buying tickets. What a back-stabbing outrage. A bunch of spoiled brats who have been pampered their whole lives because they can play basketball are trying to teach solid citizens a lesson? Get real. Los Suns are haters of decent Arizonans.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. openout

    i know you're still watching t-born, I just ate your mama"s pu55y, it taste like spaghetti-oh's YUM!

    May 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Phillip

    YEAH BUT GUESS WHAT YOU ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO FU*****CK NORTH AMERICA WITH ALL YOUR CRA*****PS

    May 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sam

    I've tried to post several times now and for some reason the site would rather let people post death threats and name-calling. Oh well...

    May 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bohica

    I am deeply offended by all of the liberal racists in the world referring to me as a WHITE. I want to be called what I really am. I am an English-Norwegian-Luxombourg-French-German-Swedish-American. And I demand my rights. And I demand payment for any percieved injustices my ancestors suffered when they immigrated here. Whether legally or not. I wasn't here but I deserve to be rewarded for them. After all, all my ancestors did, like your ancestors, was to build the greatest, freest, nation on earth. Why else does everyone want to come here? Perhaps our laws aren't perfect, but if we don't follow the laws what do we have? Anarchy. And the new law does not say it is to be applied only to MEXICANS. It applies to all illegals. Ever been to a Chinese restaurant? Maybe, mid-east foodstores? If we had stopped the madness years ago we wouldn't have the problem now. Washington D.C. is at fault.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
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