ENES KANTER FREEDOM – NBA JOURNEYMAN, CONSERVATIVE SUPERSTAR

ENES KANTER FREEDOM – photo courtesy MSNBC

I love basketball. I played and coached basketball for most of my years on God’s green earth.

Okay, I know, it’s hard to love the NBA when the players, owners, and league officials cowtow to communist China, Nike, and anybody who promises MORE MONEY, while disrespecting the United States by kneeling for the national anthem.

But stick with me for a minute. I have always been a Utah Jazz fan. We lived in Utah back in the Stockton and Malone days – back when the “pick and roll” was sacred and all players stood at attention during the national anthem. I taught my daughter the pick and roll when she was 9 years old.

Like many fans, my team loyalties continued well after leaving the local markets. I still love my Utah Jazz and my Kansas City Chiefs, having lived in those areas, watching hundreds of games, and being caught up in the local pro team frenzy. (Add the Saskatchewan Roughriders Canadian football team from our Montana days.)

So when former Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (now with the Boston Celtics) jumped into the headlines as a shining conservative star, outspoken in his opposition to Chinese dictator Xi Jinping’s oppression of Uigher Muslims and Venezuela’s totalitarian leader Nicolas Maduro, it got my attention.

Last year when the left gained the upper hand in US politics, the NBA was quick to play the race card, with LeBron James leading the charge against “systemic racism” and criticism of the USA, our values, and our history. At the same time, the NBA embraced Nike, a known civil rights abuser in China, and the Chinese Communist Party, whom the NBA had been courting for many years as a mass consumer of all things NBA, including broadcasts and licensed products.

When the Chinese abuse of Muslims, aggression against Taiwan and Nepal, confiscation of shipping lanes in the South China Sea and crackdowns on civil rights in Hong Kong hit fever pitch, the NBA, including its leading celebrity LeBron James, was dead silent.

Who stepped up in defense of civil rights and freedom? A first-generation immigrant from Turkey, Enes Kanter.

Kanter is, by NBA standards, a journeyman. I was struck by his athleticism and drive when he played for the Utah Jazz, and he plays the same role for the vaunted Celtics. Still, Kanter is not a “star” like LeBron.

But he is a superstar to American conservatives, because he is a strident, if lonesome, voice against totalitarianism, anywhere in the world.

Kanter, a native of Turkey, grew up in fear of totalitarian government. The New York Post quoted Kanter saying, “I remember a teammate posting something online against [then-President Barack Obama] and I got nervous for him,” he recalls of the high school incident in 2009. “I asked him, ‘Dude, what are you doing? They will put you in jail.’ He laughed hysterically and said I was confused. I was shocked that, within the next two days, the police did not come to his house and pressure him to say he was sorry or take away his family. If you did that in Turkey, you would be arrested for sure.”

Now, Kanter speaks out against oppressive regimes, and he understands the danger we face as the United States slides toward the same fate. He even legally changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom to celebrate his new life in the USA. He recently became a US citizen.

Kanter’s fervor for freedom has not come without cost – he has been threatened by the Turkish government that imprisoned his father, and he faces kidnap and arrest if he leaves the USA.

Kanter has been a regular on conservative TV and radio stations as a beacon for freedom. NBA legend Dominique Wilkins recently surfaced as a supporter of Kanter and his mission. Meanwhile, the NBA continues to embrace the “woke” agenda while ignoring civil rights abuses.

“When I was nine years old, my mom told me to always stand up for what’s right — even if it means sacrificing everything,” he said. “From that day forward, I have always been outspoken. 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.”

So my first pick for the NBA all-star team is not LeBron James, or Steph Curry, or James Harden – great players all. My favorite player is now Enes Kanter Freedom, a true – and new – American Patriot.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from my home
FREEDOM – Richie Havens

One thought on “ENES KANTER FREEDOM – NBA JOURNEYMAN, CONSERVATIVE SUPERSTAR

  1. Tom,
    Enes is a rock star in my book. When this story came out, I said to myself, that was courageous and as I listened to him speak, it was more about being morally correct in the treatment of all people. I have been a 46 year fan of the Lakers and I can’t stand LeBron and only watch them when he is out! Being from Spokane and a Zags fan, the Jazz were my #2 team to watch, now they are #1.
    Thanks for sharing this story.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from NW Montana! Keep on Rockin’
    All the best, Barry

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