The Philadelphia 76ers Should Stand for Freedom—Enes Freedom

Have you seen what’s happening in the NBA right now? The National Basketball Association seems to keep forgetting which nation it plays in and is supposed to represent. 

NBA center Enes Freedom, who changed his name from Enes Kanter, has been waived by the Houston Rockets. This happened after the Rockets traded to get him from the Boston Celtics. Players getting waived—cut—happens all the time, especially around the trade deadline, which was last week. But teams trading to get players and then cutting them is rare, and very odd. 

It raises questions about just what’s really going on behind the scenes. Has Freedom been cut for standing up and speaking out for freedom? Is Freedom being blacklisted to appease Beijing? He huddled with Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee recently, so maybe the senator was trying to get him picked up by the Jazz. 

Kanter changed his name to Freedom because he wants to make it clear where he stands with respect to human rights, especially as they pertain to China, one of the world’s biggest abusers of human rights. Freedom is Swiss-born, of Turkish descent, and is appalled at how China treats numerous peoples within its borders, including its Uyghur minority. The fact is, the Han majority rules China and treats everyone not-Han as second class or worse—much worse in the case of the Uyghurs.

The Associated Press, the BBC, and others have investigated and found that China is running concentration camps in which it forces Uyghur women to be sterilized, enforces communist indoctrination, and in which Uyghurs are forced to work as slaves. There’s a word for what the Chinese Communist Party is doing to the Uyghurs, and that word is “genocide.”

America is routinely denounced by professional athletes and the likes of Nike for racism and slavery, the latter of which America paid for in the blood of the Civil War over 150 years ago, but Nike and these same athletes turn a blind eye to China’s current and ongoing ghastly sins. Nike even says it’s a brand “of and for China,” so it can kindly shut up about the Betsy Ross flag. It’s a very safe bet that Nike won’t hand Freedom a contract like it handed to the anti-American Colin Kaepernick after he played so poorly he lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert.

The problem with Enes Freedom is that he stands for freedom, not corporate and NBA wokeism. He’s an outspoken critic of China. The NBA infamously sees China as a source for the one thing it cares about above all else: money.

Freedom tweeted directly at China’s Communist rulers in October 2021: “Heartless Dictator of China, XI JINPING and the Communist Party of China. I am calling you out in front of the whole world. Close down the SLAVE labor camps and free the UYGHUR people! Stop the GENOCIDE, now!” 

That wasn’t the first or last time Freedom called out China’s ruling-class monsters.

His minutes-per-game got cut in half versus the previous year after he moved from Portland to the Celtics. And now the Celtics traded him to Houston, which waived him. Recall that Houston got into hot water with the ChiComs when its then-general manager, Daryl Morey, slammed them a couple of years ago. China ended up consuming Hong Kong, and the NBA kept on eating up Chinese blood money. Morey ended up leaving the Rockets. Now Freedom is without a team.

Coincidence? Nah. No less than the Simon Wiesenthal Center sees what the NBA is really up to, tweeting “.@NBA can spare us their selective hypocritical moral lessons on social Justice. Caved to the Chinese Communist party because @EnesFreedom Kanter had the guts to speak up for #Uighurs.”

Now that the Celtics and the Rockets have both kowtowed to Xi, the one team that is literally named for freedom should step up and pick up Enes Freedom. The Philadelphia 76ers need a solid center who can grab rebounds. Enes Freedom is such a center. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent, and he’ll be more motivated than ever to own the Celtics and the Rockets and the rest of the NBA on the hardcourt. Philadelphia just has to ship their backup center Andre Drummond to the Brooklyn Nets in order to get superstar James Harden in a trade.

And guess who the 76ers’ president of basketball operations is now? None other than Daryl Morey. Morey should sign Enes Freedom both to get a solid player on the cheap, and as a message to the ChiComs and the greedy NBA. Come on, 76ers: Stand for and with Freedom, and make him a 76er. 

The Liberty Bell is painted on the hardwood at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly. Let’s act like we deserve it.

As a Philadelphia native, this is personal for me, All-Star Joel Embiid needs a solid backup with Drummond gone. GM Daryl Morey are you listening? Get Enes Kanter.


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