Enes Kanter Freedom photographed before he made a trip to play in China for the Boston Celtics (photo from CNN)
His name is Freedom, and he Means it
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
Enes Kanter Freedom played in the NBA; he is 6’10” 250 pounds center and played from 2011 to 2022. His conviction cost him his high-paying job. He changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom as he continues to speak against the president of his native Turkey as well as injustices in China.
Enes Kanter Freedom sacrificed his career as a professional basketball player to be a voice for the voiceless. This is one of his quotes: “Whatever happens in life, always stand for the truth. Stand for justice and stand for whatever you believe in, even if it means sacrificing everything you have,”
Freedom, who has spoken out against human rights abuses at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party and has raised awareness surrounding the mistreatment of Uighur, Tibetans, Hongkongers, and Taiwanese, as he received an award as Most Valuable Patriot from the Fox News Network this year,
Professional basketball player Enes Kanter Freedom accused the National Basketball Association (NBA) of hypocrisy over its decision to host a “civic engagement night” the day before Election Day, the mid-term elections here in the US, while remaining silent on the Chinese “dictatorship” that he says the league is “profiting off of.” and: “The NBA’s biggest backer is China — so when they promote Civic Engagement here, do they care to comment about a dictatorship they are profiting off of? The NBA constantly told me ‘we don’t want to get involved in politics’… I guess what they meant to say was ‘we don’t want to “upset China”
Kanter Freedom has been targeted by the Turkish government for his outspoken nature and was dropped from the Houston Rockets this year but the pushback hasn’t stopped him from advocating for those who need it most. In 2021, he took his activism to new heights when he became an American citizen, changing his name to “Freedom”. “The reason I wanted to add “Freedom” behind my jersey was to remind every child in America how blessed they are in the best place in the world,” he said. “I believe America is going to have even better years going forward. That is giving me so much motivation to fight for what’s right. I represent freedom. That’s, like, the best thing that I could do.”
Some athletes get the call for justice causes and lose their jobs, in 2016 San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee for black justice and since then never returned to the NFL. Enes Kanter Freedom is an opinionated ex-basketball player who spoke publicly about the NBA involvement in China a country where human rights abuses are well documented worldwide and recently lost his job, but he seems to be happy and at peace.
Enes Kanter Freedom, nickname Enes The Menace, played in the NBA and his basketball skills made him a star in the NBA but his activism has made him more of a hero and well-known all over the world, even in the countries where the NBA is not that big.
The irony is that while Enes Kanter Freedom paid a price for speaking the truth, even the US government and other organizations are on his side. It is well documented that the U.S. government and human rights organizations have accused China of using slave labor, especially in the Xinjiang region. If you want to know more, here is the US State Department site ttps://www.state.gov/forced-la
Freedom to speak your mind is a beautiful thing. We just witnessed the USA 1-0 victory over Iran in the World Cup. The Iranian government threatened their payers for not singing their national anthem. The Iranian government could torture and imprison the families of these soccer players in the Islamic republic which is totally controlled by the government. Those Iranian soccer players are as courageous as any athletes in the world and deserve our respect and admiration.
Like Enes Kanter Freedom for speaking against the NBA and their affiliation with communist China, he can do that because he lives in the US where you can speak your mind. One of the most famous athletes in US history, Muhammad Ali when he refused the draft, to be inducted into the US Armed Forces citing his religion forbade him from serving.
It cost him a lot, like the stripping of his heavyweight title, a suspension from boxing, and a $10,000 fine which in 1967 was enough to buy a home in the US. Not to mention the criticism inside the US Armed Forces serving at that time. I was serving at that time in the US Army and Muhammad Ali was not very popular among the troops. If you believe in free speech, you have to respect these athletes.
Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcasts heard each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com