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NBA Free Agent Enes Kanter Freedom

NBA free agent Enes Kanter Freedom recently created the Enes Kanter Freedom Foundation to support the fight for religious freedom and human rights around the world. Freedom said it is time to take action and work with leaders on both sides of the aisle to ensure those freedoms. Because what is most important to Freedom is its responsibility to young people, he told NTD.

Freedom believes that athletes like him “have an amazing reach…if you’re an athlete, there are millions of kids out there who idolize you and follow in your footsteps; that’s a big responsibility. Whatever you do, just get out there and try to inspire as many kids as possible. And believe me, that’s bigger than your next paycheck,” Freedom said.

One of his foundation’s missions is to unite young people of all religious faiths and backgrounds by promoting team spirit and sportsmanship.

“It aims to stand up for human rights, democracy, freedom of speech, religion, expression and protest, as well as poverty alleviation and social harmony around the world,” Freedom said in a recent interview with NTD China Insider at the International Religious Freedom Summit.

Freedom revealed that he is also working with US politicians on both sides of the aisle to end the abuses being perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) around the world, from mainland China to Tibet.

“I am concerned with human rights, because human rights are above politics. You can support different parties or sides, you can have different opinions, but both sides have to care about human rights,” Freedom said.

He said he has been attacked on social media for speaking out about the CCP’s crimes, especially organ harvesting, but that doesn’t worry him because he knows what he is doing is right. Some Chinese invite him to see how good China is for them, but he encourages them to.

Figure shows organ prices in China’s illegal transplant industry. (The Epoch Times)

“I think, okay, let me take my camera crew and come over. [The] For the first few days you can do all kinds of propaganda you want; i’m cool with it But then take me to Xinjiang, take me to Tibet, take me to Hong Kong, and when we’re done, we’ll go to Taiwan to see what true democracy is all about,” he told Beijing. He got no answer.

Freedom was born in Switzerland from Turkish parents, but declared unwanted person by the Turkish government for his openness about his country’s human rights abuses. In 2017, his Turkish passport was revoked, meaning he was unable to visit his family in Turkey.

Exposing the hypocrisy of the NBA

Epoch Times photo
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (center) loses control of the ball to Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom (right) and forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston December 1, 2021. (Charles Krupa /AP photo)

Freedom was recently left without a team in the NBA after being traded by the Boston Celtics, only to be fired by the Houston Rockets, which he attributes to his openness to the CCP.

He has been sharply criticizing the regime since the summer of 2021, when a parent of a young Muslim participant in a basketball camp drew his attention to human rights violations in Beijing. The parents said to him, “How can you call yourself a human rights activist when your Muslim brothers and sisters are being tortured and raped every day in concentration camps in China?”

Freedom, who had focused primarily on legal issues in his native Turkey for the past decade, said the question baffled him and compelled him to investigate.

Since then, the athlete has held the regime accountable for a range of abuses, including those committed in Tibet and Xinjiang as well as China, including the regime’s crimes of killing persecuted individuals for their vital organs – an atrocity that killed countless people has cost the lives of prisoners of conscience of Falun Gong.

Epoch Times photo
The shoes of Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics prior to the Celtics’ home game against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden in Boston on October 22, 2021. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“If the organization you play for can’t stand hypocrisy, that’s why it’s been very lonely and tough, to be honest,” Freedom said in a recent interview with NTD Capitol Report.

“I think, well, maybe I lost my job, but now I have a new family,” Freedom said of his decision to continue speaking out about the CCP’s abuses.

Freedom grew up in Turkey when there was much political turmoil and he recalls his 9-year-old peers burning American and Israeli flags. The leaders told him to hate these people, which frightened and confused him, he said, so he ran and asked his mother for advice to understand her.

“Mom, you know, my friends told me to hate America, hate Israel, hate Christians, hate Jews. What should I do? And my mom said I’m not going to tell you what to do, but don’t hate someone until you meet them,” Freedom said.

Freedom said he wanted to learn about other religions because when he arrived in the United States, he was treated with respect and people were interested in his faith.

“Everyone in the world should experience this. I’m here [at the International Religious Freedom Summit]first of all, learn not to talk and educate myself about what’s going on around the world so I can help them,” Freedom said.

Freedom adopted his new surname last year as part of his process to become a US citizen.

Masooma Haq

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Masooma Haq began reporting for The Epoch Times from Pakistan in 2008. She currently covers a variety of topics including US government, culture and entertainment.

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