Outspoken human rights advocate and China slave labor critic Enes Kanter will legally change his last name to “Freedom” after becoming a U.S. citizen on Monday.
The report comes from the Athletic’s Shams Charania, who says that Kanter, who was born in Switzerland but raised in Turkey and has Turkish citizenship, will choose “Freedom” for his last name and make Kanter his middle name.
As Charania reports:
Kanter has been outspoken about social injustice and corrupt government regimes throughout his NBA career, particularly about the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his native Turkey. In 2017, Kanter had his Turkish passport canceled while traveling overseas and his father was briefly imprisoned by the Turkish government. Kanter recently took aim at LeBron James’ relationship with Nike and the company’s alleged forced labor practices in China.
Kanter hasn’t confined his protests against communist China or Nike or LeBron to mere words, either. The 6’10 center has worn several pairs of shoes critical of the James, the Chinese regime, and their slave labor practices.
XI JINPING and the Chinese Communist Party
Someone has to teach you a lesson,
I will NEVER apologize for speaking the truth.
You can NOT buy me.
You can NOT scare me.
You can NOT silence me.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 24, 2021
Detail of the shoes worn by Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics with the wording “Free Tibet” during 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 abuses in the world today.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 22, 2021
The shoes of Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics 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 dramatically cut his playing time, resulting in a type of “shadow benching” to keep the star and his anti-communist shoes off the floor.
LeBron James has refused to directly address Kanter’s criticisms of his relationship with Nike and China, instead opting to accuse the soon-to-be American citizen of attempting to use his name to “create an opportunity for himself.”
Despite their stated commitment to human rights and social justice, neither LeBron nor the NBA has supported Kanter’s protests.