Enes Kanter Freedom Discusses Turkey’s $500K Bounty, NBA’s Hypocrisy and Finding Safety in America

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NBA free agent Enes Kanter Freedom dedicated his life to achieving a spot in professional basketball at the professional level and fulfilled his goal by playing 11 seasons.

Though the 30-year-old planned for a career that could span beyond 11 years, Kanter Freedom’s trajectory was derailed after using his platform to address human rights violations in China, Turkey and other parts of the world.

Now, Kanter Freedom is spending his time on the run from malicious dictatorships that want him dead.

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Turkey Puts $500K Bounty on Enes Kanter Freedom

Enes joined OutKick 360 on Wednesday to discuss the $500,000 bounty put on him by his home country of Turkey after speaking out against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kanter Freedom shared how viciously the Turkish regime has responded to his op-eds criticizing the president and how even an association with him has led to people getting jailed in Turkey.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

He also addressed whether NBA players have reached out to support him as he evades the deathly target, and how America has provided him with security in his time of need.

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

“So if you’re in a country like Turkey, if you say anything or if you tweet anything, anything against [President] Erdogan or his regime, you’ll be in jail the next day,” Kanter Freedom said.

He added, “[M]y manager’s wife is actually Turkish. Her dad liked one of my posts on Twitter, and he was in jail for 13 days just for liking one of my posts on Twitter. So it is a crazy story.”

Finding Real Freedom in America

Jonathan Hutton and Chad Withrow discussed how Enes’ platform altered his life in basketball and beyond the sport. Enes discussed having to attend games with security escorts watching over him and the American surveillance currently guarding him against the lethal Turkish bounty.

Kanter Freedom notes how he discovered the bounty and what happened once he got word of it during a trip to the Vatican City.

(Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

“I had a conversation with the FBI and some of my friends on the ground immediately, and they told me to get back to America as soon as possible. So the next morning, I took the next flight, landed in America, and I had a conversation with some of my friends on the ground.

“They said this bounty could be very, very serious because they said they were hearing that some people out there were like professional hitmen; one of my friends mentioned they could be serial killers. … So it’s been very difficult the last four or five days. But I’ve had so many people reach out all around the world, showing a lot of support.”

Hutton asked Kanter Freedom, “Are you scared?”

“Not in America,” Kanter Freedom responded, who became an American citizen on Nov. 29, 2021.

“Anywhere else in the world. Yes. But I know that I’m being very well protected in America.”

NBA Ignores Enes In Time of Need

Withrow asked Enes if he had received any outreach from the NBA since discovering the news of his bounty.

“I’ve played on five different teams,” Enes said. “And I have hundreds of teammates. I promise you, I never called them my teammates. I called them my brothers because they were so close, so close to some of the things that happened in my life before this China thing. They were my biggest supporters.

“The day I talked about China, the day I criticized Nike, the day I said NBA is bowing down to dictatorship. … Not one of my teammates reached out and talk to me.”

Watch the full interview here:

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Written by Alejandro Avila

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