Enes Kanter Freedom, an NBA player originally hailing from Turkey, is no stranger to criticism and has made it a point to speak truth to power. In October 2021, Freedom took aim at LeBron James and his ties to China over the NBA’s decision to suspend broadcasts for two years after former Houston Rockers general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong protesters.
Freedom called out James for his reticence in speaking out against China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims and shared a video in which he said, “Nike likes to say ‘Just Do It.’ Well, what are you doing about the slave labor that makes your shoes? That slave labor that makes you rich… To the owner of Nike — Phil Knight — I have a message for you. How about I book plane tickets for us, let’s fly to China together. We can try to visit these slave labor camps and you can see with your own eyes. LeBron James and Michael Jordan, you guys are welcome to come too. Nike must be a participant in this. Stop the hypocrisy. Stop the modern-day slavery now.”
In November 2021, Freedom continued publicly criticizing James when he tweeted: “Money over Morals for the ‘King’ Crown. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss Flag of [China] says so… Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”
Money over Morals for the “King” ?
Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice
They really do “shut up & dribble” when Big Boss ?? says so
Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research? pic.twitter.com/YUA8rGYeoZ
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) November 18, 2021
Later that month, Freedom reiterated his stance again stating, “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’ grandkids can have the best life ever.”
And even now, after LeBron set the record for the most points ever scored by a single player in the NBA, Freedom went on the attack again:
People get mad when I speak the truth because I’m the only athlete who actually speaks the truth.
I don’t care about your endorsement deals or your dirty money.
You can NOT buy me #CCP!
Don’t expect me to respect you or your game when your shoes are literally made by SLAVE KIDS
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) February 8, 2023