Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter will change his last name to Freedom and will make his current last name his middle name, making his new legal name Enas Kanter Freedom, as he prepares to become a citizen of the United States on Monday.
Kanter's name change comes after he has drawn attention for being the most outspoken NBA player against China’s human rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims, and has advocated for the freedom of Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He has sported custom sneakers during games calling attention to geopolitical issues.
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is legally changing his name to Enes Kanter Freedom, @TheAthletic @Stadium learned. Kanter will be his middle name, Freedom is his new last name. He becomes a U.S. citizen on Monday.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 28, 2021
The Turkey native has called on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Olympics from Beijing. He told Fox News last week that "someone has to" stand up against Chinese human rights abuses even if the majority of the professional sports world and entertainment industry remains silent on the issue.
"There’s so many athletes, so many actors, so many singers and rappers out there. They’re scared to say a word because they care too much about their money – the endorsement deals, what the teams they play for say," Kanter said.
"They should know one thing: It should be morals and principles over money. It shouldn’t be the opposite way. People’s life depends on this," he continued, noting that athletes in all sports are role models to young people around the world.
Kanter added that he feels alone in his efforts to call out China for its repeated atrocities.
"So many people care too much about the business side of it," Kanter said. "But to me, human rights are way more important than anything you offer me."
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