Enes Kanter Freedom
PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
Award Winner 2022
Outstanding Human Rights Activist
Enes Kanter Freedom is a Turkish/American human rights activist, NBA player in Boston Celtics and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who lost his NBA career for being vocal against human rights violations in China.
Raised in Turkey, Enes Kanter began to call out human rights violations by President Erdogan in his home country. The authorities retaliated by banishing from the country, listing him in Interpol and imprisoning his father.
In 2017 Freedom hardly escaped a various kidnapping attempts arranged by Turkish government agents in Indonesia and Romania. He received 11 arrest warrants and countless death threats.
Seven years after having his Turkish citizenship revoked, Enes became an American citizen and changed his last name to Freedom.
Freedom took up the cause of oppressed peoples in China, advocating for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics in response to the ongoing genocide being carried out by the China Communist Party (CCP) against Uyghur Muslims, calling Chinese president Xi Jinping a “brutal dictator,” and donning shoes with “Free Tibet” emblazoned on them.
After debuting with human rights slogans on his shoes during the season opener, every Boston Celtics game was then banned in China and Turkey. In many interviews and with the art on his “Freedom Shoes”, he has spoken out for the rights of Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hongkongers, Taiwanese, and others facing CCP oppression.
Freedom has become a voice for the oppressed in Turkey, China, Russia, Iran, and more countries worldwide.
In February 2022 he was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Houston Rockets, who waived him. The NBA is reluctant to sign him for speaking out against China, and continuously try to silence him.