Sebastien De La Cruz (Credit: San Antonio Express-News)
When Darius Rucker canceled plans to sing the national anthem ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs asked Sebastien De La Cruz to do the honors. De La Cruz, an 11-year-old Mexican-American, is a San Antonio resident who appeared as a singer onAmerica’s Got Talent last year, and he didn’t disappoint.
That the Spurs chose a Latino boy in a mariachi suit quickly became a controversy, with social media users asking why an “illegal alien” was singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and why he was “dressed like such a little Mexican.” One Twitter user posited that “They prolly made this Mexican sing to stay in America.”
De La Cruz was quick to respond , as was San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who wrote in a Facebook message that De La Cruz “represent[s] the best of our nation’s future!” Spurs coach Greg Popovich blasted the critics as “idiots” who were for some reason “proud of their ignorance.” But the Spurs organization itself had the best response, because it asked De La Cruz to come back and sing the national anthem again before Game 4 Thursday night.