Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter plans to change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom, per ESPN. Many may believe this a sporadic decision; however, this decision stems from his Turkish background. He became an official United States citizen on Monday. Kanter is to make the name change official after completing the citizenship process, according to Kanter’s agent.
Kanter has an extremely long history of social activism. He’s been outspoken about the Turkish government ever since 2018. In 2018, Kanter was accused of belonging to a terrorist organization in his home country, which he denies currently. Morever, Turkey has revoked his passport.
This season Kanter expressed his support for Tibet. As a result, this led to the Chine government’s removal of Boston Celtics’ games.
Kanter was the third overall draft pick in 2011 by the Utah Jazz. This is the second time Kanter will set foot on the court as a Boston Celtic. He previously played on the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, and Portland Trail Blazers.
Boston Celtics game canceled off-air
The Boston Celtics games were pulled off Chinese media due to Kanter’s two-minute video expressing his support for Tibet.
WATCH: NBA player Enes Kanter slams Chinese President Xi Jinping as a "brutal dictator" and declares that "Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people." pic.twitter.com/y2xgUIofpE
— GMA News (@gmanews) October 22, 2021
“I’m here to add my voice and speak out about what is happening in Tibet. Under the Chinese government’s brutal rule, Tibetan people’s basic rights and freedoms are nonexistent,” Kanter said in the video posted Wednesday on Twitter and Instagram.
He provokes and calls the Chinese President, XI Jinping, a “brutal dictator” often throughout the video. Kanter also decides to wear an image of the Dalai Lama. This all seems strategic and calculated; however, Kanter has never shied away from opening his mind up and expressing his agenda and goals.
The Washington, D.C.-based Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama released a statement to ESPN later in the day that read in part: “We are thankful to Enes Kantor, NBA player for speaking in support of Tibet. In a two minutes video message he summed up the existential threat faced by the Tibetans under Chinese communist rule. Every word that he said is true.”
“At the huge risk to his personal life and career,” The Dalai Lama continued.
The NBA and Tibet have not commented on the situation, per sources.