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NBA’s Kanter slams Lebron James over China, social justice hypocrisy: ‘Money over Morals’

Lebron James. (Lebron James / Getty Images)
November 19, 2021

Boston Celtic’s player Enes Kanter slammed Lebron James on Twitter Thursday, accusing James of hypocrisy over his vocal support of social justice in the United States while profiting off human rights abuses in China through his Nike partnership.

“Money over Morals for the ‘King,’” Kanter tweeted. “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?” Kanter added.

Last month, Kanter called out 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.”

“You do not address police brutality in China. You do not speak about discrimination about the LGBTQ community. You do not say a word about the oppression of minorities in China,” Kanter said in a video posted to Twitter. “You are scared to speak up. Who makes your shoes in China? Do you even know? There are so many forced labor factories in China. For instance, Uyghur forced labor. A modern day slavery, and it’s happening right now in China.”

Kanter highlighted that Uyghurs are “currently detained, sold and assigned to work at forced labor camps, prisons and factories” throughout China.

At the end of his video, Kanter spoke directly to Nike’s owner, Phil Knight, as well as James and former NBA star Michael Jordan. He suggested the group fly to China together “to visit these slave labor camps” so they can see it with their “own eyes.”  

“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,” Kanter continued. “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,” Kanter said. “Stop the modern-day slavery now.”

Earlier this year, James posted a response video after professional soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic criticized the NBA player’s activism.

“At the end of the day, I will never shut up about things that’s wrong,” James said. “I preach about my people and I preach about equality. Social injustice. Racism. Systematic voter suppression. Things that go on in our community because I was a part of my community at one point and seeing the things that was going on and I know what’s going on still because I have a group of 300 plus kids at my school that’s going through the same thing and they need a voice.”

“I’m their voice,” James continued. “I’m their voice and I use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that may be going on not only in my community but around this country and around the world.”