Outspoken NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, who has frequently criticized LeBron James for refusing to speak out against the human rights violations in China, claims a teammate of the Lakers superstar encouraged him to keep it up.
“One of the teammates that LeBron had came up to me and said, ‘Dude, keep doing what you’re doing. What you’re doing is right. Don’t give up,’” Kanter Freedom said on “The Will Cain Podcast” on Fox News Radio.
“I was very shocked. I thought he was gonna be like, ‘Dude stop talking,’” Kanter Freedom added. “He’s going to try to defend LeBron, right? He’s like, ‘Dude, do not stop.’”
Kanter Freedom, who has been the most outspoken NBA player on geopolitical issues concerning China’s human rights abuses as well as Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan’s fight for freedom, added “Freedom” to his legal name last year. He has also worn sneakers promoting his own geopolitical initiatives and mocking James for refusing to speak out against China’s human rights abuses.
The Boston Celtics’ center grew up in Turkey and officially became a U.S. citizen in November.
Kanter Freedom claimed on Cain’s podcast that James’ teammate approached him at the free-throw line during a game.
“He said, ‘I have so much things that I want to say, but I cannot because these teams got us,’” Kanter Freedom said. “If you want another contract, if you want more endorsement deals, if you want other companies to work with you, you have to keep your mouth shut. You cannot criticize the league, the companies, Nike, or whoever – the players or superstars.”
Kanter Freedom told Cain he was happy James’ teammate told him to keep it up. He also feels more players should speak their minds.
“I’m like, ‘Dude, come on man,’” Kanter added. “There is not one player that wants to join me. That made me, like, really sad.”
Kanter Freedom has long made waves with his public pronouncements, previously being disowned by his family in 2016 due to his support for Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish religious cleric living in exile in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
James has been one of the most active voices in the social justice landscape over the last few years. He’s made his thoughts known on the murder of George Floyd, an Ohio teen who was shot dead by a police officer and the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. However, James has been noticeably quiet when it comes to geopolitical issues.
Kanter Freedom has said he wants to educate James on the issues in China, where the Lakers star has profited directly or indirectly through his Nike sponsorship and movie deal.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.