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 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

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. dreadlock

    Mr JAJB whats your profession?

    May 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dreadlock

    yes I actually read all your posts since yesterday

    May 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JAJB

    Cool, thanks for taking an interest.

    I assume you are asking my profession because I kept asking Phillip what he did, right? Well, first please understand that I was only wondering, because he mentioned having to deal with North Americans every day on the phone. And I wasn't trying to get anything specific, just something general.

    In any case, I presently work in an office, supervising several other people. Mainly computer stuff. (Yes, I know I'm not being specific, hope that's ok.) I have also in my past worked in restuaruants, stocked warehouses, worked for a lawn maintenance company, and worked in retail.

    Why do you ask?

    May 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dreadlock

    you seems to be a person who likes to study a lot do I am correct?

    May 6, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dreadlock

    just asking ,like I said It seems to be a study Person ... not like other people here .

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

    I do, at least about things I am interested in/concerned about, but I don't always have the time... which is why I asked Dr. D to point me toward the part of the law he was referring to. That way I could see what he meant without spending hours going over parts of the law that had nothing to do with his statement. Alas, I seem to have missed him today. Perhaps tomorrow he'll be back.

    Why do you ask? Something you want me to look at?

    May 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dreadlock

    no no definitely just asking , you seems to be a interesting person I like to study people

    May 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JAJB

    Ah, ok. Well, thank-you.

    Hey, just wondering... since you read all the posts yesterday, what did you think about my little "debate" (and I hesitate to use that word) with Phillip, anyway?

    May 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dreadlock

    I think that Phillip was I Serial Killer , I actually hate the North Americans US

    May 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JAJB

    Well, I daoubt he's a serial killer (although that's funny), but he certainly was full of hatred, wasn't he. I'm concerened that maybe he stopped posting because he suffered a brain aneurysm, he was getting so worked up. Hope he's ok.

    You know, I missed his post where he said he was in El Salvador, so I guessed wrong when I named some countries. Sorry about that, Phillip, meu amigo! (Portuguese, just for him, since he doesn't want me speaking Spanish...)

    So, when you say you "hate" the North Americans (U.S.), do you actually mean hate, or merely dislike? There's a world of difference between the two.

    May 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ken

    How many of the 400 NBA players are here illegally? None of them!! Los Sons of the Globalist Agenda need to recognize the difference. It is not a race issue, nor an issue of origin. This law is about protecting American sovereignty!

    May 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JAJB

    Well, apparently I can't spell "doubt"...

    Hey, know what's ironic about Phillip's hatred of all North Americans? El Salvador is actually part of North America... 🙂

    May 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Florencio Maya

    To all:

    Don't forget that the USA use to belong to native americans

    May 6, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Guess who

    Christopher Columbus was an invader and the real owners are native americans whic are ancestors of mexicans. Therefore .... you see my point. I recognized this even though I am white....

    May 6, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dreadlock

    i am sorry I post that real quick what I tried to mean was that Phillip hate the US

    May 6, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
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