‘Sacrificing Everything,’ Enes Kanter Freedom Continues to Expose China’s Human Rights Violations

Former NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, who was released by the Houston Rockets in early February immediately following his trade from the Boston Celtics, continued his human rights activism at the International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 in Washington last week.Kanter Freedom said he recalled a statement by his mother, “Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means sacrificing everything.” In an interview with NTD’s “China In Focus” at the summit, Kanter said, “This is bigger than basketball. This is bigger than NBA, and this is bigger than myself. So I believe what I’m standing up for is worth it.” “I might be able to play another five, six years, but can I sleep in peace?” asked Kanter. “When I know [on the] other side of the ocean, people are losing their loved ones and losing their lives.” Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom, looks towards his team’s bench during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Boston, on Dec. 1, 2021. (Charles Krupa/AP Photo) “So I don’t have any regrets,” he said, confirming another statement he made after being released by the NBA. Born in Switzerland on May 20, 1992, Enes Kanter later moved with his family to their native country of Turkey. He changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom upon becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen on Nov. 29, 2021. “My agent actually warned me … ‘If you don’t say a word ever again, people probably gonna forget about this, and you can go out there and say you’re not educated enough. You may want to take your tweet down. And you might want to say sorry, you’ll be good. But if you say another word, you are not going to get another contract after this. This is it, this is your last year.'” Freedom was in disbelief, saying his agent told him “all the owners, players, organizations, and NBA [are] gonna act like they care about social justice, but you’re not getting another contract. “It’s ok. I was seeing the hypocrisy. Not only of the NBA, but you see Hollywood, you see how China has taken over Wall Street, academia, big tech, Congress, local congress, and someone has to open the [door to expose] what’s going on. “When I was in Turkey, unfortunately, some of the things that I talked about, my family was really affected. My dad was in jail. You know, they’ve been very, they had a really, I don’t want to go in details with that, a very rough time in Turkey.” Freedom himself has been persecuted by the Turkish government, despite representing Turkey in International Basketball from U-16 competitions and throughout his career with the senior national team in 2011. Unable to return to Turkey or travel overseas, Freedom has a warrant out for his arrest with Interpol after criticizing human rights abuses by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He said his father was also arrested for the same reason. Freedom said that condemnation by world leaders has not been effective in ending human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). “I don’t want to hear condemning. I don’t want to hear diplomatic boycott,” said Freedom. “I don’t want to hear there are human rights violations are happening in in China … are you going to take some real actions?” “While you’re condemning, there are people are dying. So that’s why we started to put legislation out there, bills out there, to stop this genocide.” People have asked Freedom what the average person can do, in response, “It’s so simple. When you pick up an item, [if] it says ‘made in China,’ put it down.” “That is the first thing you can do, and later on educate yourself so you can start educating your family, your street, your neighborhood … whoever.” In discussion of his basketball shoes that have artwork with slogans against genocide, slavery, torture, and organ harvesting, Freedom replied, “I remember when I was a kid, watching an NBA game, the first thing I was watching was the shoes, what color they are, what brand it is.” Then he would ask his dad to purchase a pair. The shoes of Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics before the Celtics home opener against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden, in Boston, on October 22, 2021. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) “I wanted to create the shoes to inspire kids young generation, because if you want to have a better, brighter future, we have to educate our kids. So now, whenever I played [NBA] basketball, they were focusing on which shoes I’m going to wear next.” Freedom said he’s noticed that people outside of China are starting to recognize the problems existing in the world’s largest communist country. “How the Chinese government are abusing their people, and that is unacceptable. So I feel we need to wake people up from the outside [of China], so we can put pressure on people from the inside. “I am very hopeful for the future, but we just need to push these lawmakers to take some actions.” In high school, Freedom declined to play for two European basketball franchises and moved to Simi Valley, California, in 2009 to attend S

‘Sacrificing Everything,’ Enes Kanter Freedom Continues to Expose China’s Human Rights Violations

Former NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, who was released by the Houston Rockets in early February immediately following his trade from the Boston Celtics, continued his human rights activism at the International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 in Washington last week.

Kanter Freedom said he recalled a statement by his mother, “Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

In an interview with NTD’s “China In Focus” at the summit, Kanter said, “This is bigger than basketball. This is bigger than NBA, and this is bigger than myself. So I believe what I’m standing up for is worth it.”

“I might be able to play another five, six years, but can I sleep in peace?” asked Kanter. “When I know [on the] other side of the ocean, people are losing their loved ones and losing their lives.”

Celtics Freedom Basketball
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom, looks towards his team’s bench during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Boston, on Dec. 1, 2021. (Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

“So I don’t have any regrets,” he said, confirming another statement he made after being released by the NBA.

Born in Switzerland on May 20, 1992, Enes Kanter later moved with his family to their native country of Turkey. He changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom upon becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen on Nov. 29, 2021.

“My agent actually warned me … ‘If you don’t say a word ever again, people probably gonna forget about this, and you can go out there and say you’re not educated enough. You may want to take your tweet down. And you might want to say sorry, you’ll be good. But if you say another word, you are not going to get another contract after this. This is it, this is your last year.'”

Freedom was in disbelief, saying his agent told him “all the owners, players, organizations, and NBA [are] gonna act like they care about social justice, but you’re not getting another contract.

“It’s ok. I was seeing the hypocrisy. Not only of the NBA, but you see Hollywood, you see how China has taken over Wall Street, academia, big tech, Congress, local congress, and someone has to open the [door to expose] what’s going on.

“When I was in Turkey, unfortunately, some of the things that I talked about, my family was really affected. My dad was in jail. You know, they’ve been very, they had a really, I don’t want to go in details with that, a very rough time in Turkey.”

Freedom himself has been persecuted by the Turkish government, despite representing Turkey in International Basketball from U-16 competitions and throughout his career with the senior national team in 2011.

Unable to return to Turkey or travel overseas, Freedom has a warrant out for his arrest with Interpol after criticizing human rights abuses by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He said his father was also arrested for the same reason.

Freedom said that condemnation by world leaders has not been effective in ending human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“I don’t want to hear condemning. I don’t want to hear diplomatic boycott,” said Freedom. “I don’t want to hear there are human rights violations are happening in in China … are you going to take some real actions?”

“While you’re condemning, there are people are dying. So that’s why we started to put legislation out there, bills out there, to stop this genocide.”

People have asked Freedom what the average person can do, in response, “It’s so simple. When you pick up an item, [if] it says ‘made in China,’ put it down.”

“That is the first thing you can do, and later on educate yourself so you can start educating your family, your street, your neighborhood … whoever.”

In discussion of his basketball shoes that have artwork with slogans against genocide, slavery, torture, and organ harvesting, Freedom replied, “I remember when I was a kid, watching an NBA game, the first thing I was watching was the shoes, what color they are, what brand it is.”

Then he would ask his dad to purchase a pair.

Epoch Times Photo
The shoes of Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics before the Celtics home opener against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden, in Boston, on October 22, 2021. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“I wanted to create the shoes to inspire kids young generation, because if you want to have a better, brighter future, we have to educate our kids. So now, whenever I played [NBA] basketball, they were focusing on which shoes I’m going to wear next.”

Freedom said he’s noticed that people outside of China are starting to recognize the problems existing in the world’s largest communist country.

“How the Chinese government are abusing their people, and that is unacceptable. So I feel we need to wake people up from the outside [of China], so we can put pressure on people from the inside.

“I am very hopeful for the future, but we just need to push these lawmakers to take some actions.”

In high school, Freedom declined to play for two European basketball franchises and moved to Simi Valley, California, in 2009 to attend Stoneridge Preparatory School. He later became a five-star basketball recruit.

He committed to the University of Kentucky, but was deemed ineligible because of being paid by Turkish professional sports club Fenerbahce in his youth.

He then entered the 2011 NBA Draft and was picked third overall by the Utah Jazz. He had played with five NBA franchises before his recent release.

His philanthropic work includes hosting free basketball camps in the United States, beginning with 16 camps in the summer of 2018. Fifty camps were hosted in 2019, and Freedom planned another 50 camps for 2020, but was unable to do so because of COVID-19 mandates.

It was at one of the camps that a mother called him out “in front of everybody” that he learned about the crimes against humanity committed by the CCP.

“That’s the one thing that breaks my heart the most, whenever I see a Muslim country with a Muslim leader, which they love to call themselves, the leader of the Muslim world. They talk about all the problems happening around the world,” said Freedom, who is a practicing Muslim himself.

“But when it comes to one specific topic, China, they still are silent because of the economy,” continued Freedom. “Because of billions of dollars are involved, because of the roads that China is building. But is it really more important than the three, four million people getting killed, tortured, or raped every day?”

Regarding the Holocaust, there’s been the saying never again—human rights activists are mentioning it, [but it] keeps happening,” exclaimed Kanter. “So what will it really take so that never again really is never again?”

“I feel like the whole world needs to come together, united measures to come together and unfortunately, they’re kind of run by China. G7 needs to come together and all the democratic countries, need to come together and say enough is enough.”

Epoch Times Photo
American basketball player Enes Kanter Freedom poses during an interview with AFP at the United Nations Office in Geneva on April 5, 2022. (Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)

“We might not feel it here. But on the other side of the world, people are having the toughest time in their life, because of the authoritarianism on the rise in our time, so we have to do something about it and be able to take some immediate actions.”

In conclusion, he urged “all the kids out there, the young generation out there watching, is to always stand up for what you believe in,” stated Freedom, recalling his mother’s words.

“Even if it means sacrificing everything, because what you’re doing is way bigger than you’ll ever you know. Standing up for innocent people is way bigger than anything you can ever gain from this materialistic world.”

“Do what’s right.”


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