For Latvian star and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Davis Bertans, only players born and raised in Latvia should be allowed to don his country's colors in international tournaments. In a recent interview, Bertans, who was traded to OKC by the Dallas Mavericks last July, made his stance on naturalized players crystal clear with a blunt take amid rumored interest of former Brooklyn Nets guard Mike James to play for Latvia as a naturalized player, per Giorgos Kyriakidis of BasketNews.

“I'm extremely proud of our country. We have our values and we want to have every single Latvian on the team; every single one that has the chance to play for the national team,” Bertans, who is in Jakarta, Indonesia as part of Team Latvia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. “From the 12-man roster, all 12 will always be Latvian as long as I'm playing. I can guarantee you that. And I mean born and raised Latvian, not with a given passport.”

It was previously rumored that there was a desire by James to play for Latvia in the FIBA World Cup, but the idea was said to have been met with disdain by ” someone from Latvia federation or some of the veteran [players],” per Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews. Although Urbonas did not mention any names, it's possible, based on the recent comments by Bertans, that the Thunder big man was among those who pushed back at the notion of James representing Latvia.

In any case, Bertans and Latvia are doing great so far in the FIBA World Cup, finishing second in Group H with a 2-1 record. Among their victims were France in a big upset during the group stage.