The ardent defender of human rights and critic of slave labor in China, Enes Kanter, will legally change his last name to “Liberty” after becoming a US citizen on Monday.
The report comes from Athletic’s Shams Charania, who says Kanter, who was born in Switzerland but raised in Turkey and has Turkish nationality, will choose “Freedom” for his last name and make Kanter his middle name.
As Charania reports:
Kanter has spoken openly about social injustice and corrupt government regimes throughout his NBA career, particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime in his native Turkey. In 2017, Kanter had his Turkish passport canceled while traveling abroad and his father was briefly jailed by the Turkish government. Kanter recently took on LeBron James’ relationship with Nike and the company’s alleged forced labor practices in China.
Kanter also did not limit his protests against Communist China or Nike or LeBron to mere words. The 6’10 center wore several pairs of shoes criticizing James, the Chinese regime and their forced labor practices.
XI JINPING and the Chinese Communist Party
Someone’s gotta teach you a lesson,
I will NEVER apologize for telling the truth.
You CANNOT buy me.
You CANNOT scare me.
You CANNOT silence me.
– Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) 24 October 2021
Detail of the shoes worn by Enes Kanter # 13 of the Boston Celtics with “Free Tibet” in the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on October 20, 2021 in New York City. (Sarah Stier / Getty Images)
To those of you who care about human dignity:
Please join me in spreading the word.
What is happening to the Uyghurs is one of the worst human rights violations in the world today.
– Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) 22 October 2021
The Boston Celtics ‘# 13 Enes Kanter shoes before the Celtics’ home opener against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden on October 22, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)
Since Kanter began his public protests against Beijing, the Celtics have drastically cut his playing time, resulting in a sort of “shadow bench” to keep the star and his anti-Communist shoes off the ground.
LeBron James declined to respond directly to Kanter’s criticism of his relationship with Nike and China, preferring to accuse the future US citizen of attempting to use his name to “create an opportunity.”
Despite their stated commitment to human rights and social justice, neither LeBron nor the NBA supported Kanter’s protests.