Enes Freedom will now be linked without end to a phrase he says he fought for his whole life.
The Boston Celtics heart modified his title from Enes Kanter to Enes Kanter Freedom in celebration of him formally turning into a United States citizen on Monday.
He stated Tuesday that taking the citizenship oath was “possibly essentially the most unforgettable second that I had in my life.”
Kanter, 29, is a local of Turkey who has been an outspoken critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish authorities.
The 2011 first-round draft choose has additionally taken to social media to assist Tibetan independence and criticize Chinese language therapy of the Uyghur folks. Throughout video games, he has worn footwear adorned to say “Free Tibet” and argued for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
He first received a U.S. inexperienced card whereas he was with the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder in 2015. He has been making an attempt to turn out to be a citizen ever since.
“It’s been very tough, clearly, as a result of the Turkish authorities put my title on Interpol (watch) lists, and so they revoked my passport,” Freedom stated. “However it’s lastly occurred. I’ve been ready on this second for the reason that day I stepped in America.”
He stated the inspiration for his title change has roots within the first journey he made to the U.S. in 2009. He was together with his teammates when considered one of them started criticizing former President Barack Obama.
“I used to be very scared (for) him, I rotated and was like: ‘Dude, what are you doing? They’re gonna throw you in jail.’ He rotated and began laughing at me. He’s like, ‘Brother, don’t fear about it, this isn’t Turkey,’” Freedom stated. “In America individuals are very blessed to be on this state of affairs, to have freedom of speech, freedom of faith, freedom of expression, freedom of press. … Individuals in Turkey, there are such a lot of political prisoners and so many journalists are in a jail proper now.
“Right here I needed to make that phrase a part of me.”
He stated the assist of his teammates has given him motivation to talk out for causes he believes in, similar to human rights violations in China and world wide. He additionally stated he had a dialog with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver earlier than the season to make sure his actions wouldn’t be a problem.
“I at all times attempt to get up for the liberty, for the reality and for democracy. It doesn’t matter who it’s for or towards,” Freedom stated. “I advised Adam, ‘Am I breaking any guidelines?’ He stated no. I advised him, if there are any guidelines that I’m breaking, let me know. I’ll be the primary one to comply with. He stated, ‘No, you’re not violating any guidelines.’ He’s like, ‘Hear, you’ve gotten the liberty to say no matter you need.’”