Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is changing his name to “Enes Kanter Freedom” as he prepares to become a US citizen.
Kanter’s manager, Hank Fetic, told the Associated Press that Kanter will have his citizenship oath ceremony on Monday afternoon and, at the same time, will complete his legal name change.
Kanter grew up in Turkey before moving to the US as a teenager to pursue a basketball career. He is an outspoken critic of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kanter said that his homeland revoked his passport in 2017 due to his activism.
“Turkey could have been the bridge between Islam and the West, but because of all the stuff happening now, that is almost impossible. I love my country, and I love my people,” Kanter said in 2020. “That’s why I want things to change. And just because I talk about democracy, human rights, and freedom, the Turkish government calls me a terrorist. It is the craziest thing.
“The only thing I terrorize is the basketball ring.”
The 2011 first-round draft pick has also taken to social media to support Tibetan independence and criticize Chinese treatment of the Uyghur people. During games, he has worn shoes decorated to say “Free Tibet” and has argued for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.