Enes Kanter Freedom of the Boston Celtics, says he would be excited to have the opportunity to speak with James LeBron (Los Angeles Lakers) about China’s human rights violations.
“Sure, I’d love to sit down and talk to him,” Freedom said on Tuesday Nov. 30 after a practice session. “I’m sure it’s going to be a very uncomfortable conversation for him. I don’t know if he’s going to want that. I’ll make that comfortable for him.
“I don’t know if he’s educated enough, but I’m here to educate him and I’m here to help him because it’s not about money. It’s about morals, principles, and values. It’s about what you stand for. There are way bigger things than money. If LeBron stopped making money now, his grandkids and grandkids and grandkids could have the best life ever.”
Freedom wore shoes with the words “Hey King Still Researching And Getting Educated?” on them during the Lakers-Celtics game, which resulted in the Lakers’ loss, on Nov. 19. After the game, LeBron dismissed Freedom, stating he wasn’t devoting his energies to him.
“I don’t give too many people my energy,” LeBron said. “He’s definitely not someone I would give my energy to. He’s trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself. I definitely won’t comment too much on that. … He’s always had a word or two to say in my direction, and as a man, if you’ve got an issue with somebody, you really come up to him. He had his opportunity tonight. I saw him in the hallway, and he walked right by me.”
But Freedom alleged, “I was actually on the court and after I left the court, he was behind me. … Then I stopped to take a picture with a kid, and he was the one who walked right past me.”
LeBron said that Freedom had a longstanding complain with him.
“He’s always had a word or two to say in my direction, and as a man, if you’ve got an issue with somebody, you really come up to him,” he said.
He added that Freedom had the opportunity to resolve the issue in person but did not take it.
Freedom, who changed his last name from Kanter to Freedom after becoming a U.S. citizen on Monday, added that it was “definitely time for athletes to stand up for the things they believe in.”
Along with LeBron, Freedom called out Nike for their hypocrisy in picking and choosing which social issues to support. Freedom says that many items that Nike sells are made from oppression, Newsmax reported.
“They stand for Black Lives Matter in America—amazing. They stand for the Latino community. No Asian hate. They stand with the LGBTQ community,” Freedom said. “But when it comes to some of the countries out there, like China, they remain silent. They use these players to become the face, like Cristiano Ronaldo for soccer, LeBron for basketball, and some other athletes. But they’re becoming puppets.
“I feel like we need to be careful of what we are wearing, because every time you put those items on your feet or back, there’s so much blood or sweat or oppression on those items.”
While Freedom continues to call attention to issues in China, most in the NBA world have remained silent. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is an outlier, applauding Freedom on Saturday, according to Alejandro Avila of OutKick. He did not, however, specifically mention China, according to Foxnews.
“I am glad that Enes speaks up when he feels like it,” Popovich said. “I think it’s great. No reason not to.”
Through social media and by wearing sneakers during NBA games that depict each of the human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese regime, Kanter is trying to raise awareness and keep visible the systematic genocide occurring in China.
As previously reported by The BL, during an interview with CNN, the player claimed that two NBA officials pressured him not to wear his “Free Tibet” shoes before a game and then hinted that he might be suspended.
Despite the pressures the Celtics player has been under, he has not given in to them or betrayed his conscience and continues his commitment to the causes.