Sebastien De La Cruz, known as San Antonios Little Mariachi, sings the national anthem prior to the start of game 4 of the NBA finals. Photo courtesy Getty Images.
Sebastien De La Cruz, the 11-year-old boy who sang the national anthem during Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio, was the victim of hateful online comments following his first performance.
Despite this, De La Cruz returned to sing the anthem at the start of Game 4 Thursday. Game 3 was such a blowout for the Spurs that the team asked De La Cruz to return and sing, eager to keep their luck going. The young singer, who was discovered on the TV show America's Got Talent, was happy to come back.
Before the anthem, San Antonio mayor Julian Castro introduced De La Cruz, who was given a huge ovation and loud cheers throughout his performance. Both Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra and Popovich walked up and shook Sebastien's hand when he was done singing.
After De La Cruz sang the anthem at the beginning of Game 3, a slew of hateful and racist tweets were directed at the 11-year-old boy, many questioning his race and immigration status. The young singer is Mexican-American.
For his part, De La Cruz seems to be unfazed by the whole thing. From an interview with ABC affiliate KTRK Houston:
"I think the people were talking bad because of what I was wearing and it's not my fault." Sebastien said. "It's what I love and I'm just proud to be a mariachi singer. It's their opinion actually and if they don't like mariachi, that's their problem. I love it."
Barack Obama weighed in on the events, sending out the following from his official Twitter:
"Don't miss @selcharrodeoro's encore performance of the national anthem at the #NBAFinals in San Antonio tonight."
Gregg Popovich spoke out about the incident as well.
"Well, I would like to say that I would be shocked or surprised by the comments. But given the fact that there's still a significant element of bigotry and racism in our nation, I'm not surprised. It still plagues us, obviously. And what I was surprised by was how proud these idiots were of their ignorance, by printing their names next to their comments.
"He's a class act. Way more mature than most his age. And as much as those comments by the idiots saddens you about your country, he makes you feel that the future could be very bright."