Celtics’ calls for freedom to become an ‘unforgettable’ US citizen – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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BOSTON (AP) – Enes Freedom will now be forever linked to a word he says he has fought his entire life.

The Boston Celtics center changed its name from Enes Kanter to Enes Kanter Freedom to celebrate his official accession to U.S. citizenship on Monday.

He said on Tuesday that taking the citizenship oath was “perhaps the most unforgettable moment I have had in my life.”

Kanter, 29, is from Turkey and has openly criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government.

The 2011 first-round pick also took to social media to support Tibet’s independence and criticize China’s treatment of the Uyghur people. During matches, he wore shoes decorated to say “Free Tibet” and advocated a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Olympics.

He first got a US Green Card while with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015. He has been trying to become a citizen ever since.

“It was very difficult, of course, because the Turkish government put my name on Interpol’s (watch) lists and revoked my passport,” Freedom said. “But it finally happened. I have been waiting for this moment since the day I entered America.

He said the inspiration for his name change had its roots in his first trip to the United States in 2009. He was with his teammates when one of them began to criticize the former. President Barack Obama.

“I was very scared (for) him, I turned around and I was like, ‘Dude, what are you doing? They’re going to throw you in jail. laugh at me. He said to me, ‘Brother, don’t worry, this is not Turkey,’ “Freedom said.” In America people are very lucky to be in this situation, to have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press… People in Turkey, there are so many political prisoners and so many journalists are in jail right now.

“Here, I wanted this word to be part of me. “

He said the support of his teammates motivated him to champion causes he believed in, such as human rights abuses in China and around the world. He also said he had a conversation with NBA commissioner Adam Silver ahead of the season to make sure his actions wouldn’t be a problem.

“I always try to defend freedom, truth and democracy. It doesn’t matter who it’s for or against, ”Freedom said. “I said to Adam, ‘Am I breaking any rules?’ He said no. I told him, if there are any rules that I break, let me know. I’ll be the first to follow. He said, ‘No, you don’t break any rules.’ He said to me, “Look, you have the freedom to say whatever you want.”

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