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NBA ‘Begged’ Enes Freedom To Take Off Shoes That Criticized China

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Boston Celtics big man Enes Freedom, formerly known as Enes Kanter, is one of the only NBA players willing to speak out against China’s “brutal dictator” Xi Jinping and the country’s continued human rights violations. His willingness to speak out when so many of his peers have stayed quiet has garnered him plenty of fanfare across the country.

But not everyone is pleased with his activism, including the NBA, which has a close partnership with China. Members of the association are apparently so upset with Freedom that they’ve even attacked his choice of footwear.

“Before the game at Madison Square Garden, two gentlemen from the NBA begged me to take the shoes off,” Freedom told the New York Post of his decision in November to wear custom shoes that say “Free Tibet.”

Freedom, who grew up in Turkey and who officially became a U.S. citizen late last month, refused to comply with the request, citing his citizenship notes which suggest he didn’t need to.

“I was confused. I was getting ready for my citizenship test, and I knew that the First Amendment is freedom of speech. Them telling me to take my shoes off went against my First Amendment rights. I said I would not take them off. I didn’t care if I got banned or fined,” Freedom told The Post. “During halftime I received a text message from my manager: All the Celtics games were suddenly banned in China. It took one half of a Celtics game, with me wearing these shoes, on the bench, for the games to get banned.”

Per The Post, the NBA denies that any employee of theirs asked Freedom to remove his sneakers, which is unusual because the NBA is generally so willing to talk about anything and everything related to China.

“They asked me if I would wear those shoes again and I promised not to — but I wore ‘Free Uyghur,’” Freedom told the New York Post, referring to a minority Muslim group that has endured horrific human rights abuses in China. “The National Basketball Players Association called me and harassed me. I told them to stop calling and texting me.”

Despite the NBA’s efforts to silence Freedom’s voice, he won’t oblige them, telling The Post, “Now I am on a big stage and there are so many dictators out there who are destroying people. God gave me this platform, and I have to use it for the good fight.”

And now the NBA nervously waits for the other shoe to drop.

 

Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF

 

 

Written by Anthony Farris

Anthony is a former high school basketball intramural champion who played a leading role in creating two offspring. He spends his weekends hoping for an MTV Rock N' Jock revival.

Follow him on twitter @OhioAF

19 Comments

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  1. The NBA is a private organization, so the First Amendment doesn’t apply to Mr. Freedom’s sneakers. That being said, the NBA created the precedent of letting the player’s express themselves and their (mostly moronic, but not in this case) “political” views via their apparel, and now they’re going to have to live with the unintended consequences. I freaking love it. Go Freedom!

  2. If players can have “Say Her Name” on their jerseys this guy can have his sneakers. It’s all fair game or none of it’s fair game. It’s not like the NBA wasn’t warned to stay out of the social messaging business.

  3. The hypocrisy of China / bLaK LiVEz MaTtTerz supporters is on full display for all of America to see… even Kalifornistan is starting to wake up from the Woke Nightmare.

    I strongly suspect China is fanning the flames of racial division in this country in their cold war against us.

  4. I’m reminded of how grateful I must be to live in this great nation, by watching Enes Freedom use his freedom with the excitement of a little kid who just got the present he always wanted under the tree. I take these freedoms for granted too often. Yes indeed Enes. The NBA only wants to tell you what shoes to wear because they’re caught in a foolish relationship they know is wrong and don’t want anyone to point it out. How pathetic. When someone is doing something wrong that’s always when they want you silenced. Otherwise what’s there to worry about? This is the United States of America and you my friend are an American. Wear those shoes right in their faces every night until China stops carrying any NBA games. It’s our sport anyway. They can stuff it and go play ping pong.

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