clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Arizona basketball: John McCain helped Lauri Markkanen get his Visa

The Wildcats needed help from the Senator

UCLA v Arizona Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There are always complications when it comes to immigration, and the world of college basketball is no exception.

This year, the Arizona Wildcats have had to rely on a foreigner in the form of Finland native Lauri Markkanen.

But to get Markkanen to Tucson, they needed a little help from the state’s most recognizable political figure.

“He was having trouble with his Visa, and he went to our office and we helped out with the Visa,” Arizona senator John McCain told ABC News and Andy Katz. “So therefore, any success I will take full credit for. It’s classic, huh?”

McCain went into a little bit more detail about how exactly his office was able to get Markkanen cleared and attending The University of Arizona this year.

“There was some delay in getting him a Visa,” McCain explained. “Obviously he had to have a student Visa, and there was some question about whether he was actually a student or not in Finland and with the US Embassy providing him the Visa.”

“I’d like to tell ya it was the hardest struggle I ever had, and it was the toughest thing,” joked the senator. “But actually we just waited and said ‘hey, how about expediting this through?’.”

“It was not quite as big of deal as I would like it to be.”

And they all lived happily ever after.

“I met Lauri and I did get a thank you from Sean Miller,” continued McCain. “The young man is a very attractive young man, and by the way, he’s very happy down there at The University of Arizona; little bit different climate than he’s got there in Helsinki.”

McCain has Arizona winning the National Championship in his bracket. Barack Obama, who beat McCain in the 2008 presidential election, has the Wildcats losing in the Final Four.