Last month, James White was home in Washington D.C. when the news hit: President Donald Trump issued an executive order temporarily barring immigrants from seven Muslim-concentrated countries from entering the U.S. A day later, Iran, one of the countries included in the order, announced that it would ban U.S. citizens from entering its country. White, a first-year forward with Petrochimi Bandar Imam Harbour – a team in the Iran Super League – on a break from the team and scheduled to fly back the next day, wondered: Would he be able to return? A phone call to a coach eased his concerns. “He told me, ‘What, do you think our government is like the United States?’ and said everything would be OK,” White said in an email to The Vertical. “From the moment Trump was elected, everyone [in Iran] was just saying, ‘He is stupid.’ They only know what they read or see on TV, just like we do their country.”
Two American basketball players, Joseph Jones and J.P. Prince, are stranded in Dubai after Iran’s decision to ban U.S. citizens prevented them from returning to the country where they play professionally, Eric Fleisher, the agent for both players, told The Vertical. Iran’s ban of U.S. citizens was in retaliation to President Donald Trump’s executive order barring refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries — including Iran — from entering the United States.
Jones, 30, and Prince, 29, teammates on Azad University Tehan, which plays in the Iran Super League, were on a team-funded break in Dubai when President Trump signed the executive order, Fleisher said. Before the players could return, Iran issued its ban, preventing the two players from returning to the country. “At the moment they are stranded,” Fleisher told The Vertical. “It’s a real hardship.”
Fleisher said team officials have spoken to Iranian government representatives about resolving the situation but “there is very little optimism” about finding a solution that will allow either player back in the country. Both stand to lose a substantial amount of money — six figures, Fleisher said — if they cannot finish the season.
Gibson also has played in Turkey, Israel, Italy and Iran. Iran? “I was there for 37 days,” he said. “It was OK. The people were nice. It wasn’t like it looks on TV. Going over there, I was (worried). But once I got there, it was OK.” Iran also was where he had one of the weirdest experiences of his overseas travels. “I was walking through a big crowd and somebody took my shoes out of my backpack – while it was on my back,” he said. “The fans are into it over there. Soccer is No. 1, but basketball is No. 2 there.”
Hamed Haddadi decided to spend his summer in his country, Iran. He has signed a contract with Mahram Tehran, as a source told Sportando. Haddadi ended a good season in China with Qingdao Double Star Eagles, where he reached CBA Semifinals and averaged 20.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game.