Enes Kanter is one of the least likely NBA players to leap to the defense of LeBron James. But in the case of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s comments, something had to give.
Zlatan had made the following statement yesterday, criticizing players for making political statements:
‘I don’t like when people, when they have some kind of status, and they do politics at the same time as what they are doing.’
This was aimed directly at superstars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry who were the faces of the NBA’s BLM protests. James was especially also active during the 2020 Presidential elections.
His campaigning with Barack Obama was definitely a factor in Joe Biden’s election. NBA players have dissed Donald Trump and his administration all through their tenure, and with good reason.
Enes Kanter supports LeBron James in the wake of Zlatan’s comments
Enes Kanter knows the struggle of being politically ostracized from one’s community. The Turk has been one of the Erdogan administration’s targets in the recent past. He’s also been a Gulenist, which is a part of why other Turkish players in the NBA don’t warm up to him.
Overall, Kanter has a real empathy for LeBron James with regard to how Zlatan has denounced him. He expressed this in a tweet today:
“Someone tell Ibra. There is a difference between political opinions and speaking up against persecution, oppression, and calling out Dictators. BLM isn’t a political statement, it’s speaking up against oppression. In America, we call it Freedom of speech.”
Someone tell @Ibra_official
There is a difference between political opinions and speaking up against persecution, oppression and calling out Dictators. #BLM isn’t a political statement,
it’s speaking up against oppression.
In America, we call it Freedom of speech. https://t.co/eEpERmUaXl
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) February 27, 2021
Kanter and LeBron have often been at loggerheads when they face each other on NBA courts. The two have even trash talked each other on a number of occasions. But Kanter is clearly in the right here, for you don’t need ‘expertise’ to have interest in politics. It’s something that affects your daily life, after all.