No Ban, No Ball

By: Meikhel Philogene

The travel ban imposed by President Donald J. Trump through Executive Order 13769, signed on January 27, 2017, has been one in a series of controversial executive orders signed by the President during his first two weeks of office.[1]  The travel ban immediately suspends U.S. entry to refugees and nationals from several Muslim-majority countries.[2]  The travel ban has garnished much backlash since its implementation. A federal court has recently reinstated a block on the travel ban.[3]  However, businessmen and entrepreneurs are still nervous about their futures as the new administration continues to advocate for the executive order’s implementation and legality.[4]

Sasha Eslami, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, fears that the travel ban will negatively affect his business, as he is currently in Argentina doing recruitment for his job.[5] He is an Iranian citizen and U.S. permanent resident.  Following Executive Order 13769, he is uncertain if he will be allowed back into the U.S.[6]  Uncertainty and anxiety are not solely confined to businessmen and entrepreneurs; as these feelings have invaded the minds of many sports figures and icons.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) prides itself on being an organization accepting and tolerant of all people from various backgrounds. The NBA has players from across the globe, and the recent travel ban has certain players pondering their fates and families’ fates.[7]  NBA players Luol Deng and Thon Maker are both from Wau, South Sudan, a nation newly independent from Sudan.[8]  Compared to Sudan, South Sudan has a much higher Christian population than Muslim population.[9]  Sudan is one of the countries named on the travel ban list, however, South Sudan is not specifically named and is presumed to be free from the ban.[10]  Deng holds a U.S. Green Card and is a permanent resident of the U.S., while Maker has an Australian passport.[11]  NBA figures, who are not targeted by the ban, have openly expressed their criticism and disagreement with the ban, including former Chicago Bull and current Golden State Warriors’ head coach, Steve Kerr.[12]  Kerr’s father “was killed in a 1984 terrorist attack while serving as president of the American University of Beirut.”[13]  Although the ban has yet to have a direct impact on the NBA and its players, the ban has caused a rift in the international basketball world.

Joseph Jones and J.P. Prince are American professional basketball players who play in the Iran Super League; they are currently stranded in Dubai because of Iran’s retaliatory ban on U.S. citizens.[14]  Jones and Prince were on break in Dubai, and now they are not welcomed in Iran.[15]  Jones and Prince are slated to lose hundreds of thousands if they cannot return to Iran and  complete the season.[16]  Jones and Prince are not the only American players playing in Iran; for instance, former Miami Heat star, Daequan Cook, plays in the Iran Super League and may be affected by Iran’s retaliatory ban.[17]

President Trump’s travel ban not only has an adverse effect on individuals’ travel plans, but it may cause harm to national and international businesses—including sports and entertainment endeavors. The ban has been blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but the battle of the ban wages on.


[1] See generally Trump’s Executive Order On Immigration, Annotated, NPR (Jan. 31, 2017),

[2] See Tracey Lien et al., Trump’s travel ban leaves global businesses and entrepreneurs hanging, LOS ANGELES TIMES (Jan. 31, 2017),

[3] See generally Full text: 9th Circuit rules against reinstating travel ban, CNN (Feb. 9, 2017),

[4] See Lien, supra note 2.

[5] See id.

[6] See id.

[7] See David Aldridge, How might controversial U.S. travel ban affect NBA players, teams?, NBA (Feb. 6, 2017),

[8] See id.

[9] See id.

[10] See Matt Moore, NBA seeking answers for players affected by Trump’s controversial travel ban, CBS SPORTS (Jan. 30, 2017),

[11] See Aldridge, supra note 7.

[12] See Thomas Barrabi, NBA Figures Speak Out on Trump Travel Ban, FOX BUSINESS (Jan. 30, 2017),

[13] Id.

[14] See Moore, supra note 10; see also Tim Cato, Two American basketball players cannot return to Iranian team after travel bans, SB NATION (Jan. 29, 2017),

[15] See Tim Cato, Two American basketball players cannot return to Iranian team after travel bans, SB NATION (Jan. 29, 2017),

[16] See id.

[17] See id.