SAN ANTONIO – Take that, haters.
The NBA, the Spurs organization, San Antonio and the country stood by 11-year-old mariachi singer Sebastien De La Cruz, whose singing of the national anthem at the NBA Finals set off a barrage of racist tweets, during his encore performance before Game four on Thursday night.
De La Cruz, 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. (Watch His Performance Below)
And Democratic Party rising star and current San Antonio mayor Julian Castro introduced him before the game started.
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.
Please do not pay attention to the negative people. I am an American living the American Dream. This is part of the American life.
— Sebastien De La Cruz (@selcharrodeoro) June 12, 2013
"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 included actress Eva Longoria, formerly married to Spurs star Tony Parker and who's originally from South Texas.
"The message is that no matter what someone's background is, we have so many Americans who have true talent," Mayor Castro said. "And Sebastien is one of them."
Enjoyed introducing @selcharrodeoro at tonight's Spurs game. Sebastien made everyone very proud.
— Mayor Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) June 14, 2013
Sebastien speaks to MundoFox.
Watch his Game 4 performance below.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.