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Enes Kanter Freedom is the Marjorie Taylor Greene of NBA basketball. No, he’s not a 5’7″ White woman nor is he a political conservative, but he gets as much pressure from his “superiors” as MTG does from House leaders. Like MTG, Freedom speaks out against the grain and against a league that bows to tyrannical oppressors like the Chinese Communist Party and Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela.
He has another thing in common with Greene. Like her, many of his peers reach out to him quietly to tell him of injustices he should speak out about. Few if any are willing to stick their necks out the way he does, but nobody in the NBA has his life experiences. He lived in Turkey. He experienced oppression, though not nearly as much as less admired citizens of the Islamic nation. But he’s seen what it looks like for the people to not be free and he abhors the NBA for supporting totalitarian regimes.
It isn’t just governments he’s been prompted to go after, either. The elites in the world of basketball, namely LeBron James in the league and Michael Jordan out of the league, deserve some negative attention as well. According to HoopsHype:
Enes Kanter Freedom: “Whenever I talk about it was never about Black or white athletes, or red or purple athletes. It was never about a color. I even had a conversation with many of my teammates, and a thing people don’t understand is that many of the Black athletes in the league are telling me to call out these people and [those] people. Not many people know that. They are the ones telling me to call out the hypocrisies of LeBron James, the hypocrisies of Michael Jordan, but they are the ones actually sending me talking points about you can’t say this, you can’t say that. I remember having one conversation with one of them, and he’s like, ‘Listen, these teams got us. We cannot talk, but you’re talking and you’re already out there, so you might as well just say this and say that.’ I don’t follow them blindly. I actually do research and if I believe it, I’ll go out there and say it. So, not many people know about it, but many Black athletes in the league are the ones reaching out to me saying you should talk about this and that.” Source: Etan Thomas @ basketballnews.com
It’s risky for players to put lucrative careers on the line, which is why they try to use Freedom as a proxy. But it would be nice if a few more would be willing to speak out and set the NBA straight.
Image by Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
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