Americans cannot criticize their ‘greatest nation’ of human rights & democracy, says NBA star
An outspoken NBA star has changed his last name to 'Freedom' after claiming US citizenship and told Americans that they should "stop criticizing" their country, winning praise from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Boston Celtics star Enes Kanter has been at the center of a series of controversies recently, including earning his team censorship in China for his views, which featured digs at NBA great LeBron James over what his rival perceives as silence on alleged human rights abuses.
Now the Swiss-born, Turkey-raised center has changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom, proudly proclaiming his novel citizenship while gushing praise for the US.
"Here there is freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of the press," the 29-year-old told CNN via People, explaining his decision to alter his name and become an American.
His name is Enes K̶a̶n̶t̶e̶r̶ Freedom. pic.twitter.com/PSENiBEwZd— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 30, 2021
"I didn't have any of those with Turkey. Freedom is the greatest thing a human being can have. That's why I wanted to make that word a part of me and carry it wherever I go."
Kanter is also said to have told Fox News that Americans should avoid questioning their country.
"People should feel really blessed and lucky to be in America because they love to criticize it, but when you live in a country like Turkey or, you know, China or somewhere else, you appreciate the freedoms you have here," he said.
I am proud to be an American.Greatest nation in the world. The Land of the free, and home of the brave. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/8mbUX1dpWS— Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) November 29, 2021
"I feel like they should just – please – they should just keep their mouth shut and stop criticizing the greatest nation in the world.
"They should focus on their freedoms and their human rights and their democracy."
Kanter shared a photo with his millions of social media followers of himself formally receiving his citizenship.
I’d rather have Enes Kanter on my team than LeBron James.— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) November 30, 2021
.@EnesFreedom embodies many of the values that make our nation great. He knows the importance of freedom and is courageous about speaking up for it. Today, he becomes an American citizen. Congratulations!— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) November 29, 2021
"I am proud to be an American," he declared, sharing footage from the ceremony. "Greatest nation in the world. The land of the free and home of the brave."
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo applauded Kanter, saying he "embodies many of the values that make our nation great."
"He knows the importance of freedom and is courageous about speaking up for it."
The Celtics shared footage with their fans of Kanter talking about his decisions, adding his name with 'Kanter' crossed out and replaced by 'Freedom'.