As people were being detained at airports across the country, former NBA player Nazr Mohammed reacted personally to President Trump’s executive order banning entry to the United States by refugees, migrants and foreign nationals from seven mostly-Muslim countries.
Mohammed, 39, played at the University of Kentucky and for the 76ers, Hawks, Knicks, Spurs, Pistons, Bobcats, Thunder and Bulls. He was born in Chicago, the son of an immigrant from Ghana.
Mohammed, who is Muslim, shared his anguish Saturday on Twitter, writing: “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.”
Hours after receiving supportive tweets, he added: “I appreciate all the love and support. It has exceeded my expectations and definitely outweighs the ignorance of the few.”
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
A few days earlier, he had asked:
Tell me what u would do… pic.twitter.com/1dcEnJMvDl
— Nazr Mohammed (@NazrMohammed) January 26, 2017
The NBA took steps to obtain clarity on the order from the State Department because 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.”
Maker and the Bucks made it back from a game in Toronto on Friday night. “We have to pray for those who aren’t as lucky,” tweeted Alexander Lasry, Milwaukee’s senior vice president and son of co-owner Marc Lasry, a Moroccan immigrant. “This is a massive problem and not who we are as a country.”
Maker’s family escaped to Uganda when he was 5 and moved to Australia as refugees. Maker, 19, emigrated to the U.S. in 2011, where he played high school basketball for three years, finishing his prep career in Canada. He travels on an Australian passport.
Lasry expanded on his thoughts on Twitter:
“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 the U.S. right now isn’t about Thon. It’s about all the other incredible immigrants and refugees who will make the U.S. 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.
“Sorry and let me continue by saying what Trump says about immigrants and refugees just isn’t what I see. I see incredible people who come here to create a better life for their families. It’s why my dad’s family came here from Morocco. We must continue to share the stories of incredible immigrants and refugees who make America GREAT. Proud that Thon and my dad will be shining examples every day.”