The date was January 27th, 2017. Recently appointed president, Donald Trump had attempted to put his plan into action, in order to resolve the country’s issues of terrorism, to rest. The way which he best interpreted the word “resolve” seems to be a common issue. Trump’s immigration ban which you have heard of much too often had gone into effect the same weekend which the Milwaukee Bucks played the Toronto Raptors, in Toronto. This conflict may not have hit the league with such impact if Thon Maker had not been playing in Canada at the time of the ban.
Thon Maker was born in South Sudan, one of the seven countries temporarily permitted on entering the country. Many Milwaukee teammates had worried and feared for Maker, as they were unsure if he would be allowed to re-enter the country. Luckily for Maker, his Australian passport came in tight grasp as it allowed him the enter the country.
Similar to Maker, Luol Deng was also born in what is now South Sudan, “I am a proud Refugee”, Deng stated in a recent interview. Appreciative for his British passport, Deng should not be impacted by Trump’s immigration ban.
The NBA had recently gone as far as to contact the state department in the unit for some clarity regarding travel for the players in the league, including those players who the league recruits through its Basketball Without Borders program. The National Basketball Association is seeking for answers. The league currently has 113 international players from forty-one different countries.
Protests filled airports, malls, and other public places to boycott the religious discrimination, also known as the Muslim ban.
How is the association directly impacted by this ‘Muslim ban’? For starters, the league has almost a dozen players with Muslim backgrounds. Players such as Ersan Ilyasova, Enes Kantor, Jusuf Nurkic, Kenneth Faried, and Dion Waiters. What does this mean for these elite players? The league must stand up for its players of all religious backgrounds and nationalities whether it be one of the seven banned countries from entering the USA or not.
The league offices have not been the only ones being vocal about the ban. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and Suns coach Earl Watson are amongst those in the NBA who have been perilous of Trump’s immigration ban.
Secondly, The NBA is a global league. The NBA is a league which gives an opportunity for people in all diverse countries from different parts of the world a chance to play basketball. NBA spokesman Mike Bass issued a statement saying, "The NBA is a global league and we are proud to attract the very best players from around the world". It would not be much surprise to see the NBA’s Players Association step into the matter at hands, to stand up for it’s players, and their rights.
The bottom line as of late, is that is that the ban is restricting certain players from traveling to different countries whether it be Canada, England, or China. The association prides itself on not only being prominent in the US and it must find a resolution to this issue as soon as possible if they truly value their international market.
We, alongside some of the best players from around the world, all await to see and hear answers, to read about how Trump offices will respond to the leagues inquires about this conflict; and to feel conceit about being an American NBA fan.