Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter has been using his platform to advocate for human rights around the world, taking aim at the Chinese government for their human rights abuses.
Kanter has called for a free Tibet, an independent Taiwan, called on the Chinese government to “stop the genocide” of the Uyghur people, and challenged President Biden to “stop playing games with bullies” ahead of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Kanter has also gone after Nike and the face of the NBA — LeBron James.
Friday night, the Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers squared off at TD Garden arena in Boston, and Kanter sported custom shoes that took direct aim at “The King.”
As The Daily Wire reported, Kanter took to social media on Thursday with a message for James accompanied by pictures of his custom footwear.
“Money over Morals for the ‘King’ Crown. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice,” Kanter said, referring to James. “They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [Flag of China] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”
Money over Morals for the “King” 👑
Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice
They really do “shut up & dribble” when Big Boss 🇨🇳 says so
Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research? pic.twitter.com/YUA8rGYeoZ
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 18, 2021
On one of the shoes, James is seen kneeling while a crown is placed on his head by what appears to be an illustration of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter wore sneakers tonight — while playing against the Lakers — with LeBron James bowing down while China’s dictator puts a crown on his head. pic.twitter.com/E1L4ZyPWrF
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 20, 2021
Following the Lakers’ 130-108 loss, James was asked if had a reaction to Kanter’s shoes “in his advocacy for human rights.”
“No, I think if you know me, I don’t really give too many people my energy,” James said. “He’s definitely not someone I would give my energy to. [He’s] trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself. Definitely won’t comment too much on that …”
“He’s always had a word or two to say in my direction, and as a man, if you’ve got an issue with somebody, you really come up to him. He had his opportunity tonight. I seen him in the hallway, and he walked right by me.”
LeBron on Enes Kanter: "He's trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself…As a man, if you've got an issue with somebody, you come up to him. He had his opportunity tonight. I seen him in the hallway & he walked right by me.pic.twitter.com/KYDh5o6AMA
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 20, 2021
James played 32 minutes and had 23 points in his first game back after missing the previous eight games recovering from an abdominal strain.
Kanter first took aim at James in a social media video in which he criticized Nike and its founder Phil Knight.
“Nike likes to say ‘Just Do It.’ Well, what are you doing about the slave labor that makes your shoes? That slave labor that makes you rich,” Kanter said. “To the owner of Nike — Phil Knight — I have a message for you. How about I book plane tickets for us, let’s fly to China together. We can try to visit these slave labor camps and you can see with your own eyes. LeBron James and Michael Jordan, you guys are welcome to come too. Nike must be a participant in this. Stop the hypocrisy. Stop the modern-day slavery now.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].