Enes Kanter Freedom has launched a stinging attack on LeBron James amid a wave of adulation following the Lakers star’s historic achievement Tuesday night.
The former NBA veteran took aim at James on social media after he climbed to the top of the NBA’s all-time scoring charts, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with a 38-point performance.
‘38,388 Points 0 Morals 0 Values 0 Principles 0 Empathy 1 Bow Down to #China. Congratulations to @KingJames,’ Freedom tweeted Wednesday morning.
‘People get mad when I speak the truth because I’m the only athlete who actually speaks the truth. I don’t care about your endorsement deals or your dirty money. You can NOT buy me #CCP!
‘Don’t expect me to respect you or your game when your shoes are literally made by SLAVE KIDS.’
LA Lakers star LeBron James became the NBA’s all-time leading points scorer Tuesday night
Though, former NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom sent a strong message to James postgame
Kanter Freedom has long been critical of James, who has supplied a voice on a broad range of social issues.
Vocal on a plethora of perceived injustices, James has steered clear of ever reprimanding China despite consistently criticizing various events and leaders within the United States.
In 2019, James caused anger in his home nation, and Hong Kong, after he accused then-Houston Rockers general manager Daryl Morey of being ‘misinformed’ after he ignited an international dispute between the league and China by tweeting out his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
He shared a photo that said: ‘Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.’ China responded by taking NBA games off the air before showing them again several months later.
At the time, James did not take too kindly to Morey’s remarks which caused Chinese Central Television (CCTV) to suspend NBA broadcasts for over 28 months – aside from a brief showing of the 2020 NBA Finals – citing the dangers of free speech.
‘Yes, we do have freedom of speech,’ James said. ‘But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, when you only think about yourself.
‘I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke.
‘So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually,’ the Lakers star continued. ‘So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do. Even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, it can be a lot of negative that comes with it.’
Kanter has been equally outspoken, like James, throughout and after his NBA career ended
James later clarified on Twitter saying: ‘Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that.’
James may have made another misstep when he added: ‘My team and this league just went through a difficult week.’
Last year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admitted Morey’s comment cost the league ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars. The NBA lost about $400m in Chinese business, according to Silver, and faced criticism in the US.
James now sits alone atop the NBA’s scoring list, adding another item to his growing legend
The shoes of Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom before an NBA game in October 2021
LeBron James’s recent commentary on topical issues
Kanter Freedom offered to tour China’s ‘slave labor camps’ with James, Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder, Phil Knight – who was present at Crypto.com Arena Tuesday – during 2021.
‘To the owner of @Nike, Phil Knight,’ Kanter Freedom tweeted in October of that year. ‘How about I book plane tickets for us and let’s fly to China together. We can try to visit these SLAVE labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.’
Using their twitter handles, Kanter Freedom added that James and Jordan — two of Nike’s most recognized spokespeople — are ‘welcome to come too.’ Kanter ended the post with the hashtag: #EndUyghurForcedLabor.
Most recently, Kanter Freedom has received support from House Republicans, who have called on President Joe Biden to consider sanctions against Turkish officials and entities behind a $500,000 bounty for information leading to the capture of the former NBA star.
Kanter Freedom, who amended his last name to celebrate gaining US citizenship in 2021, is on the Turkish government’s 2023 most wanted list after years of speaking out against President Recep Erdogan’s regime and its human rights abuses.
Meanwhile James has solely spoken within basketball circles for the past months.
Although in December he said he desired ‘to hold the media accountable’ after a 1967 photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones emerged as a 14-year-old observing a civil rights clash at his Little Rock high school in 1957.
Kanter Freedom offered to tour China’s ‘slave labor camps’ with James, Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder, Phil Knight via a tweet back in 2021
Morey’s initial tweet included an image captioned: ‘Fight For Freedom, stand With Hong Kong’