Last month, James White was home in Washington D.C. whe…

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.”

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The agent for Prince and Jones, Eric Fleisher, told The Vertical that both players were allowed to return to Iran on Thursday and are expected to finish their seasons. Anxiety, understandably, is measurable. One player agent declined an interview request for his client out of fear that publicizing his name and location would jeopardize his safety. It’s unfortunate because the experience playing in the region has been overwhelmingly positive.
I was hoping that he tricked his supporters in order to do what's right once he made it into the oval office. So I sat back once again to watch and see what he would do when he was finally inaugurated. And in his first 11 days he proved to me once again that his political views, policies and beliefs are entirely different from mine and the platform he ran on in the election was truly his plan for America. He proved this with his appointments of advisors and cabinet members, his executive order basically banning immigrants from certain Muslim countries and Syrian refugees from entering into the U.S., along with his stance on defunding Planned Parenthood. After all that has been done, I am fearful and hopeful.
I am baffled that we have elected officials that would try to implement policies that are totally the opposite of what America is suppose to stand for. For those who think this ban will 'Make America Safe Again" are delusional. It is not possible to 'Make America Safe or Great Again" when your only agenda is to incite fear and use faulty criteria to ban innocent refugees from countries simply because they don't have large enough business ties to America.
Cuban also said he was proud of the response from some of the NBA's top players and coaches, including Toronto guard Kyle Lowry and coaches Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr, who criticized the order. He cited the league's work in developing nations through Basketball Without Borders and its players' willingness to take stands on social issues. "That's who we are," Cuban said. "We've always tried to help those who were less fortunate. We're community driven. Our players take big steps in community organizations. We take big steps as a league. And of course we're going to have fans to say stay out of politics. And, for 16 years, I did, but we all have our own reasons and as American citizens, we can never forget it's country first, basketball second."
Deng expanded on his thoughts in more than 140 characters following the Lakers’ 120-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at Staples Center. That included Trump’s justification for banning those from Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen out of terrorism concerns. “I’ve watched the news and I’ve read a lot. If you really want to look into that, you’ve got to go into facts and what is true and what is not,” Deng said. “From what I understand, I haven’t seen a lot of refugees committing terrorist acts in this country I’m speaking about.”
Deng spoke out in hopes that other refugees will continue to have opportunities. “We’ve never really asked to leave my homeland, and a lot of these people go through a lot of things that they have no control of. To really see a light at the end of the tunnel and to go towards that light and then that light is turned off is very difficult, not just individually, but for the family,” Deng said. “I know what it feels like to wait for that opportunity to come every day. My message out there was just to let everybody who is going through that to know I feel what they’re going through. Sometimes things happen that’s out of your control, and all you can do is pray and be positive for a change and just know that there’s a lot of people out there that really feel your pain and wish you could do a lot more.”
Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, who is Muslim, expressed frustration that not all U.S. government officials and citizens have such sympathy. “I think it’s crazy, what’s going on,” Faried told reporters. “It’s basically messed up. Disrespectful. This country was founded on immigrants, and this country supposedly lets you have any religion, doesn’t matter. And for (Trump) to have a Muslim ban is the utmost disrespect. I’m Muslin, and I take that personally.”
The NBA had questions, but specifically about two players, Lakers forward Luol Deng, who played the last two seasons for the Heat, and Bucks center Thon Maker, both from South Sudan. The league contacted the state department looking for clarity regarding when those players travel to Toronto for a game. Sudan is one of the seven predominantly Muslim countries in which Trump issued a 90-day ban on travel. South Sudan, which became an independent country in 2011, is not on the list. The others: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team has not had a discussion to speak specifically about the issue – although the issue was expected to be raised at a meeting Tuesday led by players’ association rep Wayne Ellington – but he’s heard his players talking. “I heard guys talking about it before (Monday’s) shootaround,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll be talking about in the locker room now because it is sad. It’s really sad to see that it’s come to this.”
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As you can imagine, President Trump's recent executive order that bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and suspending refugee arrivals does not sit well with him. "I think it's un-American. I think it's unconstitutional. I think it's ridiculous. And I think we can be better than that,'' Watson told azcentral sports after Monday morning's shootaround at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
"I'm old," Casey said. "It's scary because it kind of reminds you about what happened back in the '60s, when I was growing up. Even though it's different issues, it resembles that in a lot of different ways. A little bit more sophisticated, but it's similar. And it's a slippery slope. For every action, there's a cause and effect and a reaction by other people, so we have to be careful. Again, I'm a U.S. citizen, a proud U.S. citizen, but we have to be careful how we're handling our business in the States."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens told the Globe that the entire situation is unfortunate. “One of the things that I’ve really appreciated about being in the NBA is the commitment to inclusion,” he told the Globe. “So the travel ban obviously is something that frustrates me and I’m certainly not happy about. “I was sitting with Jaylen [Brown] and Al [Horford] at a school on Thursday and the topics were diversity, inclusion, and conflict resolution, and then the next day we institute a travel ban. So there’s a lot of discussion about it amongst all of us, but it’s not something we’ve talked about in a group setting.”
Stanley Johnson: Watching what’s happening around the country and I’m angry that in 2017 this is our reality. We are all Americans and we ALL have power! I challenge everyone to make their voices heard in whatever way they can to fight injustice. #NoBanNoWall #MuslimBan
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: I am no expert on government policy, but I can speak from the heart and personal experience. The actions of one cannot dictate the consequences for all. We preach freedom and acceptance in America, but now are denying rights based on where people are from. We are so concerned about defending our borders, why don’t we look at what is going on within them first? What about homelessness or unemployment or crime rates or inequality? Solving those problems will make us stronger and safer than any walls or bans. Ps don't bring up the past to me I was like 15 when Barack did those things!
"I would not be where I am today if it weren't for the opportunity to find refuge in a safe harbor," Deng's statement began. "For the people of South Sudan, refugee resettlement has saved countless lives, just as it has for families all over the world escaping the depths of despair."
“I think it’s bulls---,” point guard and Philly native Lowry said setting the tone for the day. “I think it’s absolute bulls---. Our country is the country of the home of the free. For that to happen is bulls---. I won’t get into it too deeply but personally I think it’s bulls---.”
Arsalan Kazemi spoke about the travel restrictions from Jordan, where he is competing with the Iranian national team in the West Asia Basketball Association championships. I was 17 years old when I came to the U.S. to play basketball. As the first player from my country to receive a Division I scholarship, I hoped my experience would open the way for other kids from Iran who dream of doing the same thing. The day I arrived, I was at the airport for six hours. A woman brought me into a separate room and started asking me crazy questions, like if I was a terrorist. But after that, people were very nice to me. That’s why I decided to stay. Otherwise, I would have left and never looked back.
Arsalan Kazemi: To graduate from Oregon and be chosen in the NBA draft was a dream come true. I hoped that would make it easier for other players from Iran to do the same thing, but with everything that’s happening right now, I’m afraid families in Iran will be afraid to send their kids to the U.S. The thing is, it’s kind of hard for scouts to come through Iran, and it’s even harder for these kids to come to the U.S. for camps. If the relationships get better, maybe it can be easier. Right now it’s just super hard.
A. Sherrod Blakely: Stan Van Gundy: "We're getting back to the days of putting Japanese in relocation camps and Hitler registering the Jews. That's where we're headed. It's just fear-mongering and playing to a certain base of people that have some built-in prejudices that just aren't fair."
Rod Beard: #Pistons Stan Van Gundy on executive order: "This travel ban is starting to get to really scary stuff. Now we’re judging people by their religion and we’re trying to keep Muslims out. (CNN's) Fareed Zakaria had a great thing … none of those seven nations has been responsible for an American death, but we’re barring everybody from those seven. It’s just playing to people’s fears and prejudices."
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Sunday spoke out against an executive order initiated by President Donald Trump that temporarily bans entry to the U.S. of all refugees and most visitors from seven majority-Muslim countries. "I would just say that as someone whose family member was a victim of terrorism, having lost my father, if we're trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to this country, by really going against the principles of what our country is about and creating fear, it's the wrong way of going about it," Kerr said after the Warriors defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 113-111. "If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror. So I'm completely against what's happening."
"I think it's shocking. It's a horrible idea," Kerr said. "I feel for all the people that are affected. Families are being torn apart, and I worry in the big picture what this means to the security of the world. It's going about it completely opposite. You want to solve terror, you want to solve crime, this is not the way to do it."
Here's what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said about the president's executive order on immigration. San Antonio's current roster contains five international players: "As you already know, I have lots of thoughts about what we've done to ourselves as a country and what we've allowed to happen. But we'll see where this goes. Obviously the roll-out today was Keystone Kops-like by any measure with objectivity. Whether you want to say it's good or bad is irrelevant. But it was Keystone Kops, and that's scary."
While no NBA player affected by the executive order is subject to deportation, the capacity of any such player to leave the U.S. and re-enter is now in jeopardy. The order may make such as a player "inadmissible". This means he could remain in the U.S., but if he leaves during the 90-day period he may not be able to re-enter until the prohibited period has expired. Deng and potentially Maker's capacities to re-enter the U.S. would, like other persons in their position, be contingent upon the results of an uncertain “case-by-case” evaluation as directed by the Department of Homeland Security. As a result, if Maker or Deng was expected to travel with his team to play the Toronto Raptors, either player may encounter significant problems in trying to return to the U.S.
Often in front of political and human issues, Nike CEO Mark Parker has issued an official statement condemning Trump's Muslim ban, saying that, "Nike believes in a world where everyone celebrates the power of diversity." Parker also referenced a statement made by distance runner Mo Farah, who was born in Somalia, moved to Britain as a child and currently calls Portland home with his wife and children. "Nike stands together against bigotry and any form of discrimination," said Parker. "We are at our best when we recognize the value of our diverse community."
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.”
USA TODAY Sports: The NBA has asked the U.S. Department of State for clarification on Trump's immigration order. Jeff Zillgitt: Could also impact college/high school players from countries on list. South Sudan's Chol Marial is one of top players in class of 2019.…
Two NBA players — Milwaukee Bucks forward Thon Maker and Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng — have Sudanese roots, and the league does a significant amount of work overseas through its Basketball Without Borders program. “We have reached out to the State Department and are in the process of gathering information to understand how this executive order would apply to players in our league who are from one of the impacted countries,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday night. “The NBA is a global league and we are proud to attract the very best players from around the world.”
Just thinking and talking about President Donald Trump’s so-called Muslim ban had Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — who is Muslim — choking up. But the actual executive order hit the young Nets standout far harder. “We try to teach people not to point the finger, blame a whole [group]. You can’t judge a whole group by one’s actions at the end of the day. And I feel like that’s not right. That’s definitely not right,’’ Hollis-Jefferson said Saturday before they faced the Timberwolves. “You can’t speak for all Muslims, because all Muslims’ hearts aren’t like that. Most of them are pure, really believe in a different way and a different livelihood.”
At that point, Hollis-Jefferson had to look away at the Target Center wall, and compose himself, apologizing for getting emotional. “This is kind of hard. My bad. This is kind of touching … just being a part of that community and a part of that family,’’ Hollis-Jefferson said. “I feel like this should definitely be handled differently, and I feel like more people should definitely speak up and act on it just because it’s BS at the end of the day.”
Asked if he thought there was an element of fear in the Muslim community, or a chance Trump’s actions could incite bad feelings, Hollis-Jefferson said there was. “Yeah, I believe so, just because, again, I feel like he’s targeting people and singling people out, and then it’s making it as a whole,’’ Hollis-Jefferson said. “But this country or these group of people may feel like, ‘Why are you doing this to us?’ then ‘My family is there’ and etc.
Jeremy Lin: As an American, sorry to everyone affected by the #MuslimBan ... this is foreal gettin out of control #teamACLU
Enes Kanter: I am still in disbelief about the #MuslimBan 'NO' human should be discriminated for their Race, Religion or Ethnicity. #WeAreAmerica
Powerful photo. We are fortunate to have a man of God back in the Oval Office. Spencer Dinwiddie: But he was from the Middle East..
Milwaukee Bucks rookie center Thon Maker made his second career start in Saturday night's home game against the Boston Celtics. But teammates and friends were more focused on how Maker might be affected by President Donald Trump's temporary ban on the entry of non-American citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. Maker was born in Wau, Sudan, which became part of an independent South Sudan in 2011. Sudan is one of the seven banned countries along with Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
“I kind of feel like things could be handled differently. Me being Muslim, me knowing a lot of Muslims, it’s definitely, definitely heartbreaking to see,’’ said Hollis-Jefferson, who was born in Pennsylvania. “A lot of my college friends are Muslims, and their families are in some of those countries. Just seeing that, my heart goes out to them, how they feel about it and everything. It’s definitely a tough situation to put people in.”
Alex Lasry: I appreciate all the fans concerns and prayers for Thon. And, today a Sudanese refugee who fled oppression and is an incredible young man will make his second NBA start. I'm incredibly excited and proud of him. He's a symbol of what makes America great and all immigrants believe about America. But what's going on in US right now isn't about Thon. It's about all the other incredible immigrants and refugees who will make US a better place that can't come into our country. This is not who we are as a country and doesn't live up to our ideals
Storyline: Muslim Ban
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June 1, 2023 | 5:22 am EDT Update

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