Celtics center Enes Kanter has been on a public mission all season to raise awareness about human rights abuses in China (which led to China blacking out Boston games in the country). He has used social media and interviews to call Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator,” written “free Tibet” on his shoes, called out Nike for doing business and making many of their shoes in China, urged President Biden to boycott the upcoming 2020 Winter Olympics in Beijing and more.
He’s also challenged LeBron James over his ties to Nike and China — and did it again the day before the Lakers faced the Celtics Friday night.
To the owner of @Nike, Phil Knight
How about I book plane tickets for us
and let's fly to China together.
We can try to visit these SLAVE labor
camps and you can see it with your
own eyes.@KingJames @Jumpman23
you guys are welcome to come too.#EndUyghurForcedLabor pic.twitter.com/241bg887JO
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 26, 2021
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 Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 18, 2021
After the Celtics beat the Lakers in LeBron’s return to the court following an abdominal injury, James was asked about Kanter’s comments and was dismissive of the Turkish center.
“I don’t give too many people my energy. He’s definitely not someone I would give my energy to,” LeBron said. “He’s trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself. I definitely won’t comment too much on that…
“He’s always had a word or two to say in my direction, and as a man, if you’ve got an issue with somebody, you really come up to him. He had his opportunity tonight. I saw him in the hallway, and he walked right by me.”
Moments after LeBron James walks on to the floor to warm up, right behind him is Enes Kanter who has on more than one occasion, called out LBJ for not speaking out more on social injustices outside the US. #ackward pic.twitter.com/l8lBkXcJvN
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@ASherrodblakely) November 19, 2021
The Lakers and Celtics play again on Dec. 7 when Boston comes to Los Angeles.