Controversial Ex-Celtic Goes Nuclear on NBA: ‘I Spoke Out!’

Enes Kanter Celtics

Getty Enes Kanter is introduced as a member of the Boston Celtics at a press conference in 2019.

Enes Kanter Freedom has had a rough go of it career-wise since the Boston Celtics traded him back in February. Since the team traded him to the Houston Rockets at the trade deadline, Freedom has yet to sign on with another team since then. In a recent interview with the Israeli outlet Walla, Freedom believes that the league is freezing him out because he spoke out against China, which is a significant part of the NBA’s business.

“Because in recent months, I spoke out against what is happening in China,” Freedom explained to Walla. “Listen, the Chinese market is a significant part of the business in the NBA. So they will allow you to talk freely about what you want until it hurts their pocket. As soon as you do that, they will cut you. It is very sad and unacceptable.”

Freedom claims that he knew the ramifications of speaking out beforehand but did it anyway because he believes that he is bringing awareness.

“I knew in advance that I would pay this price, and I regret nothing. These things are bigger than me, bigger than the NBA, and bigger than basketball. While I dribble in America, people are being killed all over the world or imprisoned and tortured in prisons. If this is the sacrifice I have to make, I’m ready to live with it.”

Not only was Freedom speaking out against China, but he was also calling out other NBA stars like LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers for his support of Nike and, by extension, China itself.

Freedom Called Out LeBron and Nike

While Freedom and James have had previous issues with each other, mostly for basketball reasons, Freedom specifically called out James for off-the-court issues in October of 2021.

Freedom directly addressed Nike owner Phil Knight to fly on over to China to see slave labor camps. He also told LeBron and Michael Jordan that they could come too if he liked. Freedom said all of this while posting pictures of sneakers that called Nike hypocrites with phrases like “no more excuses,” “made with slave labor,” and “modern-day slavery.”

Evidently, Freedom wanted to get his message across by any means, which included calling out two of the NBA’s greatest players ever.

In the end, Freedom believes that his unfiltered activism is what ultimately led to his NBA career ending. However, he wasn’t playing that much for Boston before the team traded him.

Freedom’s Last Season in Boston

Enes Kanter Freedom played in 35 out of a possible 54 games for the Celtics during the 2021-22 season. In those 35 games, Freedom averaged 11.7 minutes while putting up 3.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in those minutes.

Both minutes and scoring-wise, those were the lowest numbers Freedom’s put up in his NBA career. Rebounding-wise, those are the lowest numbers Freedom’s put up since his second year in the NBA.

His efficiency also took a hit during the 2021-22 season. On 2.8 shots a game, Freedom put up a field goal percentage of 52.6 percent from the field. That’s a solid shooting percentage, but it’s also the lowest field goal percentage from Freedom since his fourth year in the league with the Utah Jazz.

All in all, Freedom’s numbers were down across the board his last year in the NBA. He’s entitled to believe his activism led to him getting kicked out of the NBA, but his latest numbers may have had something to do with it too.

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