The story of Enes Kanter, now Enes Kanter Freedom, is a tumultuous one.
And after the scheduled release of the NBA’s upcoming league schedule,
it is only continuing down that road.
Speaking to Fox News, Freedom tackled the league’s decision to have “civic engagement night” the day before Election Day, where games will not be played to go vote in the midterm elections.
The NBA veteran criticized the decision, implying the motivation is to inspire fans with left-wing beliefs to vote. While expressing the intent alone is good, Freedom made mention of NBA staff members, including coaches, who have been blackballed for opposing beliefs.
The notion served as a backdrop for his belief that the league selectively advocates for voting while remaining silent on the Chinese “dictatorship” that he says the league is “profiting off of.”
Initial Problems with Turkey
Freedom entered the National Basketball Association after being picked 3rd overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, featuring All-Stars Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, and the ever-polarizing Kyrie Irving.
Seemingly since his introduction, the perception of the Swiss-born, Turkish star’s in the public eye has been skewed.
Freedom’s issues in the public eye date back as early as 2013, when the-then Jazz center spoke out on the corruption scandal in his native Turkey, where over 50 citizens were detained for bribery, money laundering, and smuggling, among many other illegal acts.
Freedom made remarks toward President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, comparing Erdoğan to Adolph Hitler, setting the tone for a periodic divide he would have from his family, friends, and his country.
From that point on, his basketball games were banned from his homeland, his citizenship was canceled, as well as numerous threats of arrest, and worse.
In ways, his celebrity in the league gave him salvation for the time being. Unfortunately, the league that offered him a spotlight is the very league that in ways, undertakes the same principles, or in Freedom’s case lack-their of.
Origins of China
Freedom, already presumed an outcast for his remarks against LeBron James, the NBA’s most marketable and successful athlete has dipped his hands in issues that might have costed him a future with the league.
Kanter Freedom dipped his hands in the China issues, as following reported acts of dictation and oppression, he had followed the “Free Tibet Movement.”
He, as well as Daryl Morey, the-then Houston Rockets owner, were approached about their sentiments.
The latter apologized after the organizational ties to China were suspended; ties that were fostered through the tenure of Hall of Famer Yao Ming’s time with the club.
Kanter doubled down on the citizens needing justice, akin to the fight for the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which took place around the same time.
Ultimately, his stance has fallen on deaf ears, while at the age of 30, he sees himself out of the league.
Freedom last played a reserve role with the Boston Celtics in the 2021-2022 season. He was waived by the team in February, having averaged a double-double (11 PPG, 11 RPG) in 72 games with the Portland Trailblazers last season.
In his 11 years in his career, he’s averaged 11.2 points per game, and 7.8 rebounds per game, in just over 21 minutes of action.