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.

Post by:
Filed under: Immigration • Sports
soundoff (1,270 Responses)
  1. I LOVE RACIST IDIOTS

    I LOVE HOW U RACIST IDIOTS GET SO UP TIGHT ABOUT THIS GET USE TO IT CAUSE HISPANICS WILL OUT NUMBER YOU AND U WILL BECOME OUR B**TCHES AND GOOOOOOOOOOO SUNNNNNNNNNNNNNS HAHAHA SUCKERS

    May 5, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JAJB

    Phillip: You seem to have a reading comprehension problem.
    So, what have I said to you that makes you call me names, anyway?
    And really, I'm curious, what line of work puts you in contact with North Americans by phone, every day?

    May 5, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    The Suns need to focus on Basketball not politics. What dont they understand about the word illegal. They make enough money let them pay the hospital and social services bill

    May 5, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Dark One

    I guess if Jesus Christ tried to come to America, we would have to stick his sorry ass in jail 🙂

    May 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. KEITH STAFFORD

    SO WOULD THE NBA PLAYER ON THE SUNS THAT REFUSED TO WEAR THE SHIRT BE A RACIST?

    May 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. I LOVE RACIST IDIOTS

    YES AND U TOO KEITH STAFFORD AND WHO WAS IT CAN U TELL ME THAT?

    May 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Phillip

    WHAT YOU YOU FUC*****CING CARE YANKKE HISPANICS WILL OUT NUMBER YOU AND U WILL BECOME OUR B**TCHES AND GOOOOOOOOOOO SUNNNNNNNNNNNNNS HAHAHA SUCKERS
    THERE YOU GO JAJB 100 TO NOTHING

    May 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JAJB

    Openout, SB 1070 is about 17 pages long. Not hundreds. But that's ok, you are certainly right that people should educate themselves about the laws of their country.
    Hey, have a great day!

    May 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Phillip

    The Dark One I BELIVE SO BUT DONT WORRY NO ONE LIKE JESUS CHRIST

    May 5, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. I LOVE RACIST IDIOTS

    I LIKE JAJB CAUSE HES A RETARD BUT IM SURE HE WILL BE WATCHING THE SUNS WIN TONIGHT HAHAHA WHAT A HYPOCRIT

    May 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JAJB

    @Dark One: Jesus would probably obtain a valid visa, don't you think?

    @Phillip: Again, I ask: what did I say that makes you call me vulgarities? Hmm? Oh, and thanks for giving me 100 points like that, that was nice of you. 🙂

    May 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. I LOVE RACIST IDIOTS

    I THOUGHT U WERE LEAVING JAJB, STOP WRITTING YOU HAVE NOTHING SMART TO SAY

    May 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Phillip

    YEAH JESUS WILL GET A VISA HE WOULD BE CRYING AT JAIL , JAJB DONT BE SUCH A MOOMASBOY

    May 5, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. The Dark One

    @JAJB: Yes I can just see him waiting in line at the West Bank United States Consulate in his sandals and loincloth, probably nibbling on the jaw bone of an ass.

    May 5, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    I wonder if any of them has even read the bill. Who cares what country a player is from? Their presence in America is LEGAL. This issus is about illegal immigration. This article underlines how screwed we all are.

    May 5, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85