The NBA has reached out to the U.S. State Department in an attempt to understand how President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending immigration for citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries could potentially affect the league in terms of player travel.

NBA Demands State Department Clarify Trump’s Immigration Ban

“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. “The NBA is a global league and we are proud to attract the very best players from around the world.”

Two NBA players — Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng and Milwaukee Bucks rookie Thon Maker  were both born in Sudan, one of the seven nations affected by the ban, along with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. This could pose a problem for them, as Sudanese citizens have been denied entry into the United States for three months, according to the order. The NBA does a significant amount of work abroad through its Basketball Without Borders program.

Former NBA player Hamed Haddadi is from Iran, and could also thus be affected by the ban.


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The Bucks, as it happened, played in Toronto on Friday night, although Maker– who left Sudan as a small child and has an Australian passport, was able to return to the U.S. with his teammates without a problem.

“No,” Bucks Coach Jason Kidd told reporters in Milwaukee when asked if Maker had issues getting back into the country. “He’s starting. There are no issues.”

Meanwhile, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a second-year Brooklyn Nets forward who is Muslim, slammed Trump’s decision before his team played in Minnesota on Saturday night.

“We try to teach people not to point the finger, blame a whole [group],” Hollis-Jefferson told reporters in Minneapolis before the game. “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. 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.

“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. 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.”


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