Instant pressing concerns arose in the NBA amid President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration banning citizens from seven countries in entering the US. However, as in the case of Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Luol Deng who was born in Sudan, which is included in the seven countries from which immigration is being halted for 90 days, the order is not expected to affect him. Deng currently has dual citizenship with South Sudan and the United Kingdom. The ban includes citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The NBA is seeking for more clarity due to its lack of specific details.
Luckily, Deng whose family eventually settled in the UK after escaping Sudan as refugees, is from South Sudan. His birthplace was in Sudan at the time of his birth but now lies in the country of South Sudan, thus legally binding his citizenship to South Sudan which is already an independent country and is not included among the list. Deng has family members in London whom he regularly visits in the offseason. The Lakers have already played their lone international game, this year in Toronto.
The NBA which is a global league is now reaching out to the State Department to gather information on how the order would apply to the players especially those who belong to these affected countries. The executive order, as speculated, could eventually extend beyond 90 days and believed to be expanded to many other countries. It also falls within the NBA’s regular and post seasons.
Like other pro leagues, The NBA and its players’ associations, the NBPA, will need to judiciously review how policy and legal changes impact the eligibility of players to enter, re-enter and leave the United States. Neither Luol Deng nor his fellow foreign-born players belong to these banned countries. The NBA had 113 international players from 41 countries and territories at the start of this season.