The NBA is consulting the U.S. State Department for information on what to do for players who may be affected by President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries—which is being enforced against those with green cards or with dual citizenship.
There are currently no NBA or D-League players from the six banned countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria or Yemen. There are two players from what is now South Sudan, which won its independence in 2011 from Sudan, the seventh country banned by the executive order: Thon Maker of the Bucks and Luol Deng of the Lakers, who has dual citizenship with Great Britain. The league has released a statement saying that they are in the process of learning how they might be affected by the ban.
According to a Lakers spokesman, the team “has not heard of anything that may impact” Deng or any other member of the team at this time. A Bucks spokesman did not reply to a request for comment regarding Maker, but the NBA’s statement noted that the Bucks “were concerned about Maker’s ability to travel freely with the team back to the United States from its game Friday in Toronto.” Team vice president of strategy and operations Alex Lasry made it a point to say that the rookie was able to travel:
After the team announced that Maker would be in the starting lineup on Saturday night, Lasry went on to frame some of his praise in the context of the executive order: “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.”
A potential area of conflict could be the league’s annual Basketball Without Borders global camp, which will held next month over All-Star Weekend. Though rosters have not yet been released, players from countries affected by the executive order have been included in years past.
Meanwhile, a number of current and former NBA players have spoken out against the ban, including Jeremy Lin, Enes Kanter, and Nazr Mohammed: