‘Los Suns’ Jerseys Set for Cinco De Mayo

Steve Nash, ESPN, May 4, 2010

The Phoenix Suns will wear “Los Suns” on their jerseys in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Wednesday night, owner Robert Sarver said, “to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation.”

The decision to wear the jerseys on the Cinco de Mayo holiday stems from a law passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer that has drawn widespread criticism from Latino organizations and civil rights groups that say it could lead to racial profiling of Hispanics. President Barack Obama has called the law “misguided.”

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“However intended, the result of passing the law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question,” he [Sarver] said, “and Arizona’s already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them.”

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Sarver came up with the “Los Suns” jersey idea but left it up to the players for the final decision, Suns guard Steve Nash said, and all of them were for it.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Nash said after Tuesday’s practice. “I think the law is very misguided. I think it’s, unfortunately, to the detriment of our society and our civil liberties. I think it’s very important for us to stand up for things we believe in. As a team and as an organization, we have a lot of love and support for all of our fans. The league is very multicultural. We have players from all over the world, and our Latino community here is very strong and important to us.”

Nash was born in South Africa and moved with his parents to Victoria, British Columbia, when he was 11⁄2 years old. He was one of four Canadians to light the torch in the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics this year.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said his team was interested in taking part but couldn’t get new “Los Spurs” road jerseys in time for the game.

“It’s a wonderful idea,” Popovich said. “because it kind of shows what we all should be about. {snip}”

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The NBA Players Association released a statement criticizing Arizona’s immigration law and praising the Suns for the gesture.

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But Kerr [Phoenix general manager Steve Kerr] said “this isn’t a huge political stand as much as it is just a celebration of diversity.”

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Suns coach Alvin Gentry didn’t want to comment on Arizona’s immigration bill and said he was focused on showing appreciation for the Latino community and Arizona’s diversity.

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“It’s going to be great to wear Los Suns,” Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire said, “to let the Latin community know that we’re behind them 100 percent.”

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