Celtics Veteran Calls Out LeBron James: ‘It’s Ridiculous’

Enes Kanter calls out LeBron James

Getty LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes to the basket during the game against the Boston Celtics.

Vaccines continue to be a divisive conversation across the globe. The NBA world is no different — especially with high-profile players such as Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal demonstrating fluctuating levels of reluctancy and/or pushback on the matter. While the majority of the league’s players have been vaccinated (95% according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski) there remains a few outliers, which could prove an issue for some squads since the NBA confirmed on September 29th that salaries will be withheld from unvaccinated players that miss games based on local COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

One player who we won’t have to worry about missing any time due to the matter is LeBron James. Yet, while the Los Angeles Lakers superstar has confirmed he’s received the vaccine despite his initial skepticism, he hasn’t publically encouraged others to follow in his footsteps — something that doesn’t sit well with Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter.

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Kanter ‘Very Disappointed’ in LeBron

Speaking with CNN’s Pamela Brown, Kanter certainly didn’t bite his tongue when it came to his dismay for James’ handling of the situation. When asked by Brown whether the four-time NBA Champion had a “responsibility” to use his reach to promote the vaccine, Kanter had this to say:

You know, when I heard it, I was very disappointed and it is ridiculous. Obviously LeBron James, he’s one of the faces of the league. And he should be the first one to go out there and say, listen, everyone, I got the vaccine and I’m encouraging everyone, my community, everyone, basketball fans, non-basketball fans, all sport fans to go out, get this vaccine so we could save other lives. So when I heard that, I just can’t believe it. But I hope he could educate himself about this vaccination and encourage other people around him.

While Kanter did note he doesn’t believe there should be a mandate to get vaccinated, he also touched on the reluctance vaccinated players could have for facing non-vaccinated players.

Obviously everyone has a choice to make. But in this pandemic our choice actually can hurt others. And we are playing a team sport. Just think about all of those unvaccinated players going to go against the players who are vaccinated for 48 minutes, and it is not like we are playing ping pong. We are playing a contact sport. It is basketball. So 48 minutes they will be sweating and they will be on us the whole game. So I don’t know if the vaccinated players will be comfortable to go against unvaccinated players. So I feel like we definitely need to touch that point for sure.

Kanter Ready to Bring Good Vibes to Celtics Locker Room

While Al Horford’s return to the Celtics was obviously the most publicized addition to Boston’s frontcourt this season, he’s not the only big man embarking on his second stint with the organization. Kanter inked a one-year deal with the Celtics this offseason, returning to Beantown after a one-year hiatus in Portland.

The former No. 3 overall pick will look to add depth behind the likes of Horford and Robert Williams in the frontcourt. Yet, just as important as his on-court presence, Kanter is looking to serve as a vital veteran presence in the C’s locker room.

“The one thing I’m going to do is make sure everyone is happy, good in the locker room,” Kanter said via Mass Live. “Because sometimes we won’t get the good result we want. Once we get in that locker room, do we stay together or not. That’s my job going into the season.”

While training camp is still young, the Celtics and head coach Ime Udoka are liking what they’re seeing from the 11-year veteran.

“He’s been disruptive in a good way,” Udoka said of Kanter. “I’ve played against him, obviously, over the years, so he’s been great. Obviously, we’re happy to have him back. I didn’t know him as well as the rest of the group, but I heard all the stories coming in and he’s been exactly what I heard he is: A pain in the ass.”