It is pretty evident that Enes Kanter isn't afraid to stand up to LeBron James. The Turkish center took a shot at the King during an interview with CNN when he criticized the latter's stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. James announced at the LA Lakers Media Day that he was indeed vaccinated but isn't going to advice other players to do the same.
The NBA is buzzing with discussions and debates around the COVID-19 vaccine. Players like Nets' Kyrie Irving and Warriors' Andrew Wiggins will be forced to miss all home games in the upcoming season if they don't get the vaccine.
CNN's Pamela Brown asked Enes Kanter what he thought when he heard LeBron James' statement regarding the vaccine because the LA Lakers superstar is a worldwide sensation and has a responsibility to protect the players and the black community. Kanter responded by saying:
"When I heard it, I was very disappointed and it's ridiculous. Obviously LeBron James, he's one of the faces of the league and he should be the first one to go out there and say 'Listen everyone, I got the vaccine and I'm encouraging everyone, my community, basketball fans, non-basketball fans, all sports fans to go out there and get this vaccine so we can save other lives'...So when I heard that, I couldn't believe it but I hope he can educate himself about vaccination and inspire and encourage other people around him."
Enes Kanter insists that LeBron James should educate himself better on the vaccination situation so he can encourage other players to get the vaccine shot.
Enes Kanter has a history of beefs with LeBron James
It is clear to anyone who watches the NBA that LeBron James and Enes Kanter are nowhere close in terms of stature. King James is a first-ballot future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players to ever play basketball. On the other hand, Kanter hasn't even received a single All-Star selection in this career and is about to play for his fifth team in five years.
Regardless, Enes Kanter apparently doesn't view LeBron James as one of the greatest to step on the court and once mocked his nickname "King". Back in the 2017-18 NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers visited Madison Square Garden to play the New York Knicks and Kanter got into a disagreement with James during the game. Al Iannazzone of Newsday reported that Kanter said the following after the game:
"I don't care who you are. What do you call yourself? King, Queen, Princess. Whatever you are. We're going to fight. Nobody out there is going to punk us."
LeBron James' stance on the vaccine isn't exactly unique compared to other players. Stars like Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have all said the same thing, maintaining that it is a personal choice for players. However, given Enes Kanter's history with LeBron James, it isn't surprising CNN asked the Turkish center for his opinion on James' statement.