Sebastien De La Cruz sang the national anthem again a few days after he faced racist remarks following a NBA Finals Game 3 performance.
De La Cruz, an 11-year-old from Texas who won “America’s Got Talent,” sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” during Game 4.
After Game 3, a number of online commenters made racist and bigoted remarks toward De La Cruz, with some suggesting he is an illegal immigrant. Some criticized him wearing for a traditional mariachi outfit.
One tweeted there was a “9 out of 10 chance that kid singing national anthem is illegal,” according to the New York Daily News.
The criticism prompted even San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich to respond.
“I would like to say I would be shocked or surprised by the comments,” Popovich said Thursday. “But given the fact that there’s still a significant element of bigotry and racism in our nation, I’m not surprised.”
He added: “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. [De La Cruz] is 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.”
De La Cruz performed before Game 3 after former Hootie & the Blowfish front man Darius Rucker couldn’t make it.
“Please do not pay attention to the negative people. I am an American living the American Dream. This is part of the American life,” De La Cruz wrote on Twitter earlier this week.
In interview with KTRK-TV, De La Cruz appeared to be unfazed.
“I think the people were talking bad because of what I was wearing and it’s not my fault.” Sebastien told the station. “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.”
And San Antonio Mayor Mayor Julián Castro wrote on Twitter: “Sebastien de la Cruz, your rendition of the national anthem was spectacular! Don’t let a few negative voices get you down.”