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NBA's Enes Kanter Slams LeBron With Shoe Statement

Celtics center speaks out on human rights violations in China
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2021 7:15 AM CST
NBA Player Uses His Shoes to Criticize LeBron
Boston Celtics' Enes Kanter wears a message on his shoes during an NBA basketball game   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(Newser) – He spoke out on Tibet and got Celtics games blacked out in China, now Enes Kanter has some words for NBA 'King' LeBron James--on his shoes. The Boston Celtics center used his kicks to make a bold statement at Friday night's game against the LA Lakers. In a reference to James and human rights issues in China, where Nike shoes are manufactured, Kanter's shoes read: “Hey (King) Still Researching and Getting Educated?” Kanter posted photos of his shoes to Twitter the day before, where he directly addressed China, Nike, James, and accusations of slave labor. "Money over Morals for the 'King'" Kanter wrote, per USA Today. "Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?"

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After his team's loss to Boston at TD Garden, James was asked about the shoes and brushed off Kanter without addressing the criticism. "I think if you know me, you know I don't give too many people my energy," James said, per Complex. "He's definitely not someone I would give my energy to. He's trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself. I definitely won't comment too much on that." This is not the first time Kanter has publicly criticized China. Last month, he donned a T-shirt emblazoned with an image of the Dalai Lama and called China's treatment of Tibet a "cultural genocide." "The Chinese dictatorship is erasing Tibetan identity and culture," he said at the time. Chinese internet giant Tencent has since made Celtics games unavailable, and searches of Kanter's name on the social media platform Weibo yield no results

Kanter has also criticized the government in Turkey, where he grew up, frequently speaking out against leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. So much so that Turkey has revoked his passport and has warrants for his arrest out on defamation and even terrorism charges. His anti-China remarks came as protesters ramp up their calls for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics over the way China treats ethnic minorities. Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch said leading sponsors of the Beijing Winter Olympics should explain why they remain largely silent about alleged human rights abuses in China with the Games opening there in just under three months, per the AP. (Read more Enes Kanter stories.)

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