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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Filed under: Immigration • Sports
soundoff (1,270 Responses)
  1. maya

    we are ALL illegals
    maybe we should just give Arizona back to Mexico!
    Just because people are famous doesn't mean they don't have a right to a political opinion, or that they owe the public some sort of silence on matters they find important, on or off the court
    why do famous people have to be quiet on political matters? - when and where one chooses to voice his/her politics is a civil right
    and so is gay marriage, for that matter

    May 6, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chuck

    Arriba Los Suns..... Stop crying that they take your jobs, they steal so on...ok let me know all of you who is willing to take their jobs getting paid $5.00 anhoir working 10+ hours a day 6 days a wee. Whos going to do their jobss

    May 6, 2010 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Greg Barker

    BOYCOTT THE SUNS and the NBA! They are not supposed to be political. If they don't think illegal people should show their papers then the Suns should NOT check tickets at their doors. Just take peoples word for it that they bought a ticket legally and let them in. Steve Kerr and Sarver could pay for everyone's food, drinks, and souvenirs. They also can pay for all the spectators health care regardless of them buying a ticket or not. He then can look the other way when people are murdered by non ticket holders, and then when he is finally broke, see if he still likes the idea. I wonder if Kerr, Sarver, or Nash has had any of his family kidnapped or murdered by the illegals. I think not! They live in their cushy guard gated communities oblivious to the crime and carnage taking place on the streets of Phoenix, Vegas, and most cities in the South West! NASH if you don't like our LAWS GO BACK TO CANADA! Go to HELL NBA Commissioner David Stern!!!!!

    May 6, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. MJCAZ

    I thought what the Suns did regarding changing your name to Los Suns was extremely racist to Latinos. You are basically implying or admitting that most illegal immigrants are Hispanic. Will there be McSuns jerseys on Saint Patrick's Day to support illegal Irish Immigrants?

    May 6, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nathan

    IF YOU LIVED IN MEXICO UNDER THE HORRIBLE CONDITIONS SOME MEXICANS LIVE IN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?? STAY THERE AND WATCH YOUR KIDS SUFFER OR WOULD YOU GO TO A BETTER COUNTRY WHERE THEY CAN REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL?

    May 6, 2010 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. Papi

    Que chinguen a su madretodos los pinches racistas de arizona, babosos se creen la gran caca y dependen de la raza Si como no van a querer trabar en e; sol 120 grads en verano en la construccion labando platos en la agricultura solo estan hechados mirando tele viendo en que pedo joden,,,, por eso digo C H I N G U E N A SU M A D R E

    May 6, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mark

    The entire team and their owner should be put on the next bus heading towards the border and thrown into Mexiico and they can play all their games there. I'll never root for them again and I hope they play poorly.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. pierce

    Only one question:

    WHERE CAN I BUY THE LOS SOLS AND LOS SPURS JERSEYS????

    They are awesome and instant collectors' items.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. pierce

    Tone it down, Papi.
    You are beginning to sound like those wackos who support the racist bill.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. TOM

    CAN I GET AN APLICATION TO WORK AS A DISHWASHER @ MCDONDALDS PLEASE OH OH AND LET ME GET ONE FOR MY "SON" WE WILL DO THEY JOBS.... NOW ILLEGALS GO BACK TO MEX WE WILL DO YOUR JOB ...WHO CARES TO JOIN ME....

    May 6, 2010 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. PAPI

    the wackos who support this law are so ignorant that will never understand what I wrote

    May 6, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. cincodedrinko

    Illegal aliens don't take jobs from Americans, they do the jobs Americans don't want to do. Most Americans think they are too good to be working as a cook, maid, mowing lawns, etc. The law brings discrimination against latinos. Latinos will be stopped just to prove residency. Sure if you are a resident you don't have anything to worry about, but i wouldn't want to constantly be having to prove that I am a resident. This is the wrong way to try to solve illegal immigration.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. frank Rizzo

    They need to stick to sports and not local politics, after all they need the practice the game is in deep trouble lol.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. supertramp

    If Robert Sarver, owner of “Los Suns,” and his entire basketball teams are supporting the illegal aliens entry into the US territory and protesting the new Arizona laws; then he should move his entire team down South to Mexico and don't stay in Phoenix. Don't do cheap talk, move it to show your support of the illegal aliens.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Arizonn

    How Ironic, All WE ask is States stay outta Immigration, all YOU ask is for the Suns to stay outta politics. Go **** yourself, let the battle begin, you won't racial profiling my fellow Americans, -White Zonan' RTD

    May 6, 2010 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
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