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Enes Kanter on his Nobel Peace Prize nomination: "Sometimes taking a stand is more important than your next paycheck"

Enes Kanter Freedom

Enes Kanter Freedom

Currently out of the league, Enes Kanter-Freedom has found a new purpose outside basketball: speak up for the marginalized. His efforts did not go unnoticed as the former Boston Celtics center has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize.

Kanter-Freedom against the world

Going against some of the world’s most powerful men is nothing new for Kanter-Freedom. The former 3rd overall pick in the 2011 draft is considered an enemy of the Turkish government after criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. His passport was revoked in 2017, and he has not been back to where he grew up due to safety reasons. Enes has not seen his family in years, but that’s not the only price he has to pay.

Kanter-Freedom is now out of the NBA, and it could be tied to his tirades against China. Enes has been vocal in his criticisms of President Xi Jinping’s treatment of Uyghurs, and the entire league felt its effect. China has suspended airing the games of the Boston Celtics in the country. Now that Enes is out of the team, it remains to be seen if China will start showing Boston games again. Even without admitting it, the NBA tried to remind Enes to keep his opinions to himself. Adam Silver and the embattled big man talked for about 30 minutes, where it was emphasized that everything is about business. It meant Freedom could drag the NBA and teams with the consequences of his actions. While some supported him in silence, others were public in their approval, such as San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

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Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Is it all worth it? Sacrificing family, risking his life and means of living to fight for things beyond his control? For Kanter-Freedom, it is. Now, the Norwegian Parliament included him for the shortlist of Nobel Peace Prize winners. The nomination was related to Enes’ criticisms of human rights abuses and treatment of Uyghurs in China.

Enes Kanter-Freedom expressed his thoughts on the nomination and threw a shade towards other NBA players on his Twitter account.

I’m honored and humbled to receive the nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Sometimes taking a stand is more important than your next paycheck.”

Should Freedom win, he will make history as the only NBA player to be nominated and win a Nobel Peace Prize. Not the result he was aiming for, but it was a good reward for his efforts. In the long run, the goal remains favorable working conditions and improved treatment of Uyghurs. But whether or not those are achieved in this lifetime, Freedom has already ignited a fire. But how many players are willing to give up everything to fight for social issues that are not directly affecting them? Kanter-Freedom might be the only one, and the most important thing is he walked so others could run in the future. 

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