Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is changing his last name to Freedom, The Athletic reported Sunday.
He is set to become a U.S. citizen on Monday and will legally become Enes Kanter Freedom, per the report.
Kanter, a native of Turkey, has been a social- and human-rights activist over the past several years. He has protested against the regime of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and previously called him the “Hitler of our century.”
The Turkish government put a warrant out for his arrest in 2019, accusing him of being a member of a terrorist group. Kanter shared on social media in July 2020 a sampling of the “thousands” of death threats he said he received daily.
More recently, he has been critical of the human-rights record of the Chinese government as Beijing prepares to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, calling for the International Olympic Committee to move the Games. He also has criticized Nike for doing business in China and LeBron James, a prominent Nike endorser, for not standing up for human rights.
“Money over Morals for the ‘King’,” Kanter tweeted Nov. 18 about James and his Nike relationship.
Kanter, 29, has played sparingly for the Celtics this season. In nine games, he’s averaging 4.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 11.2 minutes.
He is in his 11th season in the NBA and has played for five teams. In 722 games (258 starts), Kanter has averages of 11.4 points and 7.9 rebounds.
–Field Level Media