The United States and the world have been reeling in recent days after Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and other people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. on a visa or green card.
What has been labeled as a Muslim ban has become controversial with protests across the country against its discriminatory nature.
The ban has also seeped into the NBA. Several players and coaches have spoken out against the executive order and voiced their dissent in the hours and days following its conception.
One player particularly impacted by this situation is Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Luol Deng. The recent free agent acquisition is a former refugee, moving from war-torn Sudan to the United Kingdom and eventually gaining citizenship there.
Sudan is one of the seven countries in the executive order; it’s not clear how Deng’s travel outside of the country would be impacted by this as he was born in what is now known as South Sudan, a country that gained independence in 2011. That won’t matter from a basketball perspective this season as the Lakers have already played their only game in Toronto.
Regardless, it is clear that this is a significant issue to Deng, especially as his foundation works to bring basketball “as a tool to give hope” to people around the world, including in Africa. On Monday, he posted a statement on both Twitter and Instagram regarding the situation, using the hashtag “Proud Refugee” to bring light to his personal experiences.
Following the Lakers’ win against the Denver Nuggets, Deng spoke to media for the first time since the executive order was signed.
Lakers forward Luol Deng on his statement yesterday in wake of Trump’s temporary immigration ban: pic.twitter.com/Kiigd0tazZ
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) February 1, 2017
And the video:
Predictably, Luol Deng was well-spoken about the issue, one that has impacted hundreds of people directly and could have even more major consequences soon.
Clearly, this is a problem that affects Deng more than most in the NBA family. And in that exclusive group, there is an ability to bring more exposure to daunting issues.
So, we commend Luol for not sticking to sports, for speaking out about an international issue, and for showing immense strength in what is clearly an emotional and dangerous time for him.