DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban questioned the effectiveness of President Donald Trump's executive order restricting immigration from seven countries, citing the "hypocrisy" of limiting immigration from some countries while not including others.
"I understand safety," Cuban said before Wednesday night's game against Philadelphia. "We all want to be safer. No one wants to be unsafe. But the hypocrisy of it all — only seven countries. Now, if it had been all terrorist-hosting countries, but seven countries? That's like locking your door with the best security ever invented and leaving all your windows open. It just makes no sense."
Cuban spoke of the struggles of his grandparents coming to America to escape persecution in Nazi-occupied Austria and in Stalinist Russia, and the challenges they initially faced as immigrants here.
"You don't condemn an entire country based on the mistakes of a few," Cuban said. "We're a country of hopes and dreams and the American Way. The wider we take that, the safer I believe we'll be. It's not that I don't understand. We're all terrified of terrorism. We're all terrified the next event could be near us or someone close to us. But it's the old sports analogy: Character isn't revealed when things are going well. Character is revealed when you're under stress and being challenged. We'll see what the character of this country is."
Cuban also said he was proud of the response from some of the NBA's top players and coaches, including Toronto guard Kyle Lowry and coaches Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr, who criticized the order. He cited the league's work in developing nations through Basketball Without Borders and its players' willingness to take stands on social issues.
"That's who we are," Cuban said. "We've always tried to help those who were less fortunate. We're community driven. Our players take big steps in community organizations. We take big steps as a league. And of course we're going to have fans to say stay out of politics.
"And, for 16 years, I did, but we all have our own reasons and as American citizens, we can never forget its country first, basketball second."