Players, coaches, and executives around the NBA have spoken out against President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries since the executive order was passed on Saturday.
Specifically, four NBA head coaches have sharply criticized the ban, including Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Notably, Kerr’s father was killed in an act of terror when Kerr was a freshman in college.
No NBA player or executive has explicitly come out in support of the ban, to SB Nation’s knowledge. One player asked, Timberwolves forward Gorgui Dieng, who is Muslim, gave a neutral answer about the ban but also said, “I think I’ve got a right to be here.” Senegal, where Dieng was born, was not one of the seven countries listed in the executive order.
Here is a complete list of NBA figures who have shared their opinions on the ban. Their complete thoughts are not included in every instance, but click on their names to see everything they said in full.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr
“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, (it’s) really going against what the principles of what our country’s about and creating fear. It’s the wrong way to go about it. If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror and so I’m completely against what’s happening.”
Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy
“We're getting into the days of now we're judging people by their religion, trying to keep Muslims out. … None of those seven nations have been responsible for an American death, but we're barring everybody. It's just playing to people's fears and prejudices and everything else, and we're getting back to the days of putting the Japanese in relocation camps and Hitler registering the Jews. That's where we're headed, and it's just fear-mongering and playing to a certain base of people that have some built-in prejudices that aren't fair.”
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey
“I'm old. 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.”
Raptors guard Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry's comments on President Trump's #MuslimBan pic.twitter.com/DOIPpOE0AP— Mark Sheldon (@markdsheldon) January 30, 2017
“Um, I think it’s bullshit. I think it’s absolute bullshit. Our country is the home of the land of the free, and for that to happen, I think it’s bullshit. I mean, I’m not going to get into it too deeply but personally, I think it’s bullshit.”
Raptors president Masai Ujiri
“I just don't get it. This is mind-boggling. I'm a prime example of what opportunity is in this world, basically. Canada has given me opportunity. America gave me opportunity. America has given my kids opportunity. That's what this world is about. For me to see -- I see how many foreign kids we have on our basketball team. Luol Deng ate in my house when he came to playoffs here. He's from Sudan. What does all this mean? It's ridiculous in my opinion.”
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich
“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 rollout 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.”
Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
People can say what they want, but being denied ACCESS to see your grandchild graduate or to go back to your country is inhumane. #MuslimBan— R.HollisJefferson (@RondaeHJ24) January 29, 2017
Bucks vice president Alex Lasry
“I appreciate all the fans concerns and prayers for Thon (Maker). 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 the 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.”
Former NBA player Nazr Mohammed
It's a tough day when u find out that so many ppl that u thought were fans or friends really hate u and everything u believe in.— Nazr Mohammed (@NazrMohammed) January 28, 2017
Thunder center Enes Kanter
I am still in disbelief about the #MuslimBan— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) January 29, 2017
'NO' human should be discriminated for their Race, Religion or Ethnicity.#WeAreAmerica
Former NBA player Steve Nash
Freedom and liberty packing up their things...— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) January 28, 2017
Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart
My first protest was really inspiring - to be alongside such a diverse group of people who care about other humans! #NoMuslimBan #LAX pic.twitter.com/mrLyHwy7De— Breanna Stewart (@bre_stewart30) January 30, 2017
Nets guard Jeremy Lin
As an American, sorry to everyone affected by the #MuslimBan ... this is foreal gettin out of control #teamACLU— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) January 29, 2017
Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried
Faried’s caption reads: “Astaghfirullah! They know not what they do!”
Astaghfirullah is an Arabic interjection used to expressed shame or disapproval. Literally, it is a short prayer asking forgiveness.
After the Nuggets’ Jan. 31 120-116 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Faried sounded off about the travel ban.
“I think it’s crazy, what’s going on,” Faried told reporters, according to the Orange County Register. “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.”
Pistons forward Stanley Johnson
Lakers forward Luol Deng
I am a #ProudRefugee. pic.twitter.com/4aeMY98vaJ— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) January 30, 2017
Deng later spoke out on President Trump’s travel ban after his Lakers’ 120-116 win over the Nuggets.
“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, according to the Orange County Register’s Mark Medina. “From what I understand, I haven’t seen a lot of refugees committing terrorist acts in this country I’m speaking about.
“We don’t know where it goes afterward,” he said. “So, right now, it’s just hope and being patient and seeing where it goes. No matter what, there’s always hope.”
Suns head coach Earl Watson
"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. We've always been as a nation leaders and everything that I feel is important, things such as diversity, accepting people of all races and creed and religion, we have to understand we cannot go backwards and we cannot hold status quo. Status quo means someone else is getting better and we'll get passed up anyway. We have to push forward with a mindset that diversity is great, which is why our country is phenomenal, and understand that you can't ever create segregation in any form whether it's gender, sexuality or religion. It can never happen. That's what makes America great. I have Muslim friends. I have Jewish friends. I have Christian friends. Nondenominational friends. I have Mormon friends. A lot of those guys were my teammates and became my friends for life. Their families became my family."
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
“As American citizens we can never forget it’s this country first, basketball second,” Cuban said. “The hypocrisy of it all is that it’s just seven countries. Now if it would’ve been all terrorist hosting countries, but seven countries? That’s like locking your door with the best security ever invented and leaving all your windows open. It just makes no sense, so I’m proud of the NBA for standing up.”
Cuban also said this about the NBA: “That’s who we are. We’ve always tried to help those who are less fortunate. We’re community driven.”