As the world reacts to U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order temporarily banning immigration for seven Muslim-majority nations, questions swirled around the sports industry as leagues attempted to ascertain exactly what the impact would be on them and their players.
For the NBA, who has an eye towards growing their brand globally, the ban could raise a number of challenges, including questions regarding Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng, who was born in South Sudan.
Fortunately, it appears that Deng will not be affected by the ban according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. Since he was born in South Sudan and not Sudan, he would be able to return to the United States should he leave the country:
As I understand, Luol Deng isn't affected by immigration ban. His citizenship is South Sudanese & British. Sudan is banned, not South Sudan.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 29, 2017
Deng’s family fled South Sudan for Great Britain when he was a boy, and as a result, he holds dual citizenship. There was some concern that should the Lakers travel to Toronto to play the Raptors Deng would be unable to make the trip because he has a South Sudanese background and it wasn’t immediately clear if that country was included in Trump’s ban on not.
Of course, the Lakers already played their lone road game against the Raptors this season (a game they lost badly at the beginning of December), but still, the scenario was a concern in the wake of the ban.
As details are still emerging about Trump’s executive order, the NBA and its teams will search for ways to adapt. It’s certainly an uncomfortable situation, and the hope is that the league can successfully navigate these stormy waters as the full impact of the immigration ban comes to light.