After officially becoming an American citizen and legally changing his last name to Freedom, Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon and shared what factored into making such a momentous decision.
In 2009, when Kanter Freedom overheard an NBA teammate criticize the president of the United States, Enes, while admitting he was “very scared” at the time, cautioned his teammate of the repercussions.
“I turned around and was like, ‘Dude, what are you doing? They’re going to throw you in jail’” Kanter Freedom said after practice, Tuesday. “He turned around and started laughing at me. He was like, ‘Brother, don’t worry about it. This is not Turkey.’ But in America, people are very blessed to be in this situation. They have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of press.”
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Kanter Freedom: ‘That is The Word I Try to Stand Up For My Whole Life’
To put things into perspective for reporters attending media availability, Kanter Freedom took it a step further.
“You guys are doing your jobs, but some people, your colleagues overseas in many countries, especially in the Middle East, just because they’re doing their job, they’re in jails,” Kanter Freedom added. “Especially people in Turkey, there (are) so many political prisoners; there (are) so many journalists in jail right now. This year, I wanted to make that word a part of me because that was the word that I fight for my whole life; that is the word I try to stand up for my whole life.”
What should we call you?
“Call me Mr. Freedom,” Kanter Freedom replied.
Enes Kanter Freedom Speaks to Adam Silver
Enes’ outcry for human rights has undoubtedly reached new heights this season. Using his voice on Twitter’s social media platform, Kanter Freedom called out China for human rights violations, along with people with business ties in China, including Nike, LeBron James, and more.
He even used his sneakers as an opportunity to spread the message while also calling out James, using an image of LeBron in his likeness, surrounded by bags of money while bowing down to a caricatured depiction of Xi Jinping. Kanter Freedom has also worn sneakers with messages such as “Free Hong Kong,” “Free Tibet,” and “No Beijing 2022,” and many more.
Enes also shared that he’s spoken to NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
“I told him if there are any rules that I’m breaking, or I’m violating, let me know. I’ll be the first one to follow,” Kanter said. “And he said, “No, you’re not breaking any rules.” And I said ‘Adam, you guys are the ones telling us and encouraging players to stand up for what’s right — not just the problems that are happening in America but all over the world. So, you guys are the ones that encouraged me to talk about all the violations that are happening all over the world.
“And he’s like, “Listen, you have the freedom to say whatever you want.” And I appreciate that.”
On Wednesday night, Enes will be donning his new jersey for the Celtics’ matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden.