One of the most surprising stories early in the NBA season was when Enes Kanter Freedom called out LeBron James for his association with Nike and the alleged slave labor in the People's Republic of China. In a recent news article, Freedom explained the reason why he decided to criticize James.
Freedom, who legally changed his name and became a United States citizen back on November 29th, wrote a piece for Time Magazine discussing the reasons for his activism. The Boston Celtics big man noted that he respects LeBron, but decided to call him out for staying silent regarding the issues connected with China.
"I have immense respect for LeBron James and his leadership in giving back and supporting progressive causes. But I called him out to raise awareness about his silence and that of too many others in the face of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its economic clout," Freedom wrote.
Enes Kanter Freedom added that LeBron James' connection with Nike is also one of the reasons for singling him out. Nike is one of many multinational companies that are being linked to forced labor factories in China. James being the face of the NBA was also a factor since the league earns billions from the communist republic.
In addition to LeBron, Kanter Freedom has also called out Michael Jordan and Jeremy Lin. Jordan is like LeBron as he is connected to Nike through the Jordan Brand, while Lin currently plays for the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association.
The former Turkey international has also called out other countries such as Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran and Syria. For his advocacy, Kanter Freedom has gotten the support of NBA legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dominique Wilkins.
LeBron James, Enes Kanter faced each other twice this season
LeBron James and the LA Lakers have already faced Enes Kanter Freedom and the Boston Celtics twice this season. Since they are from different conferences, the Lakers and Celtics won't face each other this season anymore. Their next matchup will be in the 2022-23 NBA season.
In their first matchup of the season, the Celtics overpowered the Lakers to get a 130-108 win at the TD Garden. LeBron had 23 points in his first game back from an abdominal strain, while Kanter Freedom put up five points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes for the Celtics.
After the game, LeBron James commented on Kanter Freedom's criticism of him, saying that he does not want to give his energy to it. However, James noted that he's willing to talk to Freedom, adding that they walked past each other in the hallway.
In the second matchup of the season, the Lakers got their revenge on the Celtics at Staples Center. James led the Lakers with 30 points, four rebounds and five assists in the 117-102 win. Kanter went scoreless with three rebounds in just nine minutes of game time.
There was also a moment in the game wherein LeBron James looked like he was talking trash on the Celtics bench with Kanter Freedom on it. There was no confrontation, but all the players could be seen laughing and Freedom just looking at LeBron.
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