He sang the National Anthem again Thursday night, his voice a little shakier than it was Tuesday.
But who could blame him, knowing that scores of people had tuned in just to hear him sing?
It’s been quite a week for 11-year-old mariachi singer Sebastien De La Cruz, whose performance of the anthem before game 3 of the NBA finals in San Antonio on Tuesday was met with scores of racist comments on Twitter.
People wondered why “this little Mexican kid” was singing the National Anthem; others questioned his citizenship status.
“Is this the American National Anthem or the Mexican Hat Dance? Get this lil kid out of here,” tweeted Steven David (@A1R_STEVEN).
A Twitter hashtag — #GoHome — popped up. Ironic, because Sebastien, hailed as “the boy with the golden voice” last year when he competed on “America’s Got Talent,” was born and raised in San Antonio, a self-described “true San Antonio Spurs fan.”
And he was just doing the team a favor by singing Tuesday.
The guy who was supposed to perform — former Hootie the Blowfish front man Darius Rucker — couldn’t make it at the last minute. So the Spurs asked Sebastien to step in.
Sebastien, a fifth-grader, took the high road about the backlash, which unleashed a media storm for him to weather, too.
On his own Twitter account, @selcharrodeoro, Sebastien wrote: “Please do not pay attention to the negative people. I am an American living the American Dream. This is part of the American life.”
Hundreds of people, including actress Eva Longoria, rushed to support him on social media.
On Thursday, before his pregame press conference, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stood up for Sebastien, too.
“I would like to say that I would be shocked or surprised by the comments,” said Popovich. “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 are of their ignorance, by printing their names next to their comments.”
The coach called Sebastien “a class act. Way more mature than most his age. And as much as those comments by the idiots sadden you about your country, he makes you feel that the future could be very bright.”
People said the Spurs did the right thing, inviting Sebastien back to sing on Thursday.
He wore his mariachi costume again.
San Antonio’s mayor, Julian Castro, introduced him.
And this time, the tweets that poured in sounded more like this:
“Sebastian de la Cruz. Bravo you make me proud to be an American.” Phil Lee @phillee_58.
To reach Lisa Gutierrez, call 816-234-4987 or send email firstname.lastname@example.org.