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Encore! NBA crowd roars for 11-year-old mariachi anthem singer

By Paul J. Weber

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:58 a.m. HST, Jun 14, 2013

SAN ANTONIO >> An 11-year-old Latino boy whose singing of the national anthem at the NBA Finals set off a barrage of racist tweets earned a roaring ovation in an encore performance before Game 4 between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat tonight.

Sebastien De La Cruz, a mariachi singer who first found fame as a contestant on "America's Got Talent," was congratulated by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra at midcourt after he belted out "The Star-Spangled Banner" while boisterous fans cheered him on at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs arranged the second act as a show of support following a run of disparaging tweets about Latinos and immigrants during De La Cruz's nationally televised performance before Game 3 on Tuesday.

De La Cruz, who was born and raised in San Antonio, said he was grateful and excited for being invited back.

"It makes me feel real good about myself," De La Cruz said. "It makes me feel like, in San Antonio, I know there are a lot of people that encourage me to keep on doing what I want to do."

Before the game, Popovich bemoaned the "idiots" who posted bigoted comments.

"He's a class act," Popovich said. "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 the future could be very bright."

Other celebrities and politicians also rallied behind De La Cruz. They included San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and actress Eva Longoria, formerly married to Spurs star Tony Parker.

Castro, the keynote speaker at last year's Democratic National Convention, introduced the boy Thursday night and gave him an official proclamation from the city.

"The message is that no matter what someone's background is, we have so many Americans who have true talent," Castro said. "And Sebastien is one of them."

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serfboy wrote:
Really?! Attacking/Bullying an 11-year-old boy? It's funny how brave people get when they are shrouded in anonymity.
on June 13,2013 | 06:05PM
olos73 wrote:
Just a whole bunch of ignorant people out there.
on June 13,2013 | 08:42PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Next year they will sing the national anthem in Spanish.
on June 13,2013 | 10:44PM
Eradication wrote:
You're one of the idiots/ignorant people mentioned in this article. Your claim to fame...must be a lonely life for you.
on June 13,2013 | 11:23PM
likewise wrote:
Racism is alive and well and only a tweet away. Those people should be ashamed of themselves. I'll bet the next time they go to a family reunion or a holiday dinner and open their eyes they may find they are breaking bread with relations who are not lily white. Wake up people.
on June 14,2013 | 08:05AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Ignorant bigoted uneducated ETC.....people run the color spectrum OBTW.......not just "lily white" Wake up!
on June 14,2013 | 10:43AM
Makua wrote:
I applaud his spirit and performance 24/7. He is a proud American and I'm happy for him.
on June 14,2013 | 12:06PM
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