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Celtics player changes name to ‘Freedom’ after calling out Nike, LeBron over China, social justice hypocrisy and becoming US citizen

Enes Kanter Freedom, then of the Portland Trail Blazers, on May 18, 2019 at Moda Center in Portland, Ore. (Frenchieinportland/Wikimedia Commons)
November 29, 2021

Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter is changing his name to Enes Kanter Freedom after becoming a United States citizen on Monday, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The NBA player recently made headlines after calling out LeBron James and Nike for pushing social justice causes in the U.S. while maintaining cozy relationships with China, which continues to commit severe human rights violations against minorities.

On Sunday, Charania posted on Twitter that Kanter was legally changing his name. Kanter — now Freedom — later retweeted the post, appearing to confirm the news.  

“Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is legally changing his name to Enes Kanter Freedom, @TheAthletic @Stadium learned,” Charania tweeted. “Kanter will be his middle name, Freedom is his new last name. He becomes a U.S. citizen on Monday.”

Also on Monday, the Boston Celtics tweeted video of the team warming up before a game. In the footage, one player is heard singing, “Freedom, freedom, freedom.”

“Freedom on three,” one of the players says as the team gathers for a pre-game huddle. “One, two, three Freedom!”

“I want that video,” a beaming Freedom says to the cameraman at the end of the footage.

On Monday, Freedom retweeted former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who praised the Celtics player for courageously standing up for liberty.

“.@EnesFreedom embodies many of the values that make our nation great,” Pompeo wrote. “He knows the importance of freedom and is courageous about speaking up for it. Today, he becomes an American citizen. Congratulations!”

Freedom has been a vocal proponent of liberty around the world, even going so far as to target fellow NBA players, officials and sponsors who he says put “money over morals.”

“Money over Morals for the ‘King’ 👑,” Freedom tweeted earlier this month, referencing basketball star LeBron James. “Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [China] says so.”

“Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?” Freedom added.

In October, Freedom condemned Nike and James’ friendly relationship with the Chinese communist government, which is forcing Uyghurs – a Muslim minority in China – into slave labor camps. The basketball player demanded that Nike end the “modern day slavery.”

“Don’t forget: every time you put those shoes on your feet or that t-shirt on your back, there are so many tears and so much oppression and so much blood behind it all,” Freedom 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?”

“Stop the hypocrisy,” Freedom said. “Stop the modern-day slavery now.”