Former Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter is no stranger to speaking his mind.
The Turkish big man has always been vocal towards human rights issues from those in his home country, the United States and beyond.
When Kanter’s new team, the Boston Celtics, faced off against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night, the former Blazer donned new shoes that shed light to an instance in 2019 when then Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey showed support over protests in Hong Kong.
Morey’s tweet created a ripple effect that caused China to boycott the NBA, and became a pressing matter when James and the Lakers were in China at the time playing exhibition games.
James was questioned about the circumstances while in China, to which he said, “I am informed and educated on the situation.”
Kanter’s shoes criticized James’ stance on the matter, claiming that he only “pretends to care” about social justice.
Money over Morals for the “King”— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 18, 2021
Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice
They really do “shut up & dribble” when Big Boss says so
Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research? pic.twitter.com/YUA8rGYeoZ
When James was questioned by the media about Kanter’s shoes following a loss to the Celtics Friday night, he had quite the message for Kanter.
“He’s definitely not someone I would give my energy to,” James told reporters. “He’s trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself.”
James’ comments pushed Kanter to appear on CNN, where he talked about his shoes but pivoted to Michael Jordan and his impact on social inequalities.
Not many people are talking about Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan hasn’t done anything, nothing, for the Black community in America besides just, you know, giving them money. I feel like we need to call out these athletes. At least Lebron James is going out there and being the voice of all those people who are oppressed in America.
But Michael Jordan has not done anything for the Black community because he cares too much about his shoe sales all over the world and America, and I feel like we need to call out these athletes and not be scared about who they are.
You can watch the entirety of Kanter’s interview here.
As we sometimes do with issues that are larger than basketball, we’ve decided to let Kanter’s voice hold the floor, closing the comment section for this post.