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NBA player defies China, says First Amendment is the greatest

Updated: Oct 11

Enes Kanter "Freedom" , Center for the Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter continues his firm stance against the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses, recently changing his last name to “Freedom” in the height of controversy.

Freedom told the mainstream media, “I wanted to make that word part of me, because that is the word that I fought for my whole life. That is the word that I try to stand up for my whole life.”

Freedom is using his talent and platform to expose and protest the unfair treatment of women, religious groups and ethnic minorities in communist China. The Daily Caller reported, “The Turkish-born basketball player has become incredibly outspoken against the communist dictatorship in China, and not everyone involved with the league is happy.”

Freedom risked his career, and the NBA’s relationship with China, when he refused to remove his Free Tibet shoes during a game. He also called out Nike, one of the world’s largest sportswear companies, for it’s ongoing benevolent relationship with the Chinese government despite reported cases of slave labor in overseas factories.

In a recent CNN interview, Freedom was asked whether he cared about the NBA losing billions of dollars in earnings and being removed from Chinese-owned social media platforms. Freedom said, “I will just tell you this, I am for justice and freedom, it doesn’t matter who it’s for or against. I remember talking about...the injustices in Turkey for 10 years and I did not get one phone call. I talk about China one day and I was getting a phone call [from the league] once every two hours.”

Freedom continued with the story of two NBA associates who reportedly begged him to remove the Free Tibet shoes. He asked the men if he was breaking any rules by wearing the shoes and they reportedly replied “no.” Freedom also said, “Look, I am getting ready for the citizenship test and I’ve been studying really hard. There are 27 Amendments and my First Amendment is the greatest...freedom of speech. I know my rights.”

In contrast to Freedom’s human rights activism, Lakers player Lebron James posted Tweets throughout 2020 and 2021 in support of defunding police departments and taking the lives of officers who kill Black American criminals in the line of duty.

One source reported James’ response to Freedom’s political criticisms for his ties to Nike. Rather than refute the claim, James said, “[Freedom is] definitely not someone I would give my energy to. He’s trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself.” Freedom recently made headlines when he invited James to a sit down discussion to “educate” him on abuses in China.

Freedom officially became an American citizen on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

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