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Celtics ‘Enes Freedom Call for US Citizenship’ Most Unforgettable Moment’ – CBS Boston

BOSTON (AP) – Enes’ Freedom will now be forever associated with a word he says he’s fought for all his life.

The Boston Celtics Center changed his name from Enes Kanter to Enes Kanter Freedom to celebrate him officially becoming a US citizen on Monday.

READ MORE: Enes Kanter becomes a US citizen, legally changing his name to freedom of Enes Kanter

He said Tuesday that taking the naturalization oath was “probably the most unforgettable moment I’ve had in my life.”

Kanter, 29, is a Turkish national who has been an outspoken critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government.

A 2011 first-round draft was also posted on social media to support Tibetan independence and criticize China’s treatment of the Uyghurs. During matches, he wore shoes decorated to say “Free Tibet” and argued for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

He first received his US green card when he joined the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015. He has been trying to become a citizen ever since.

“Obviously it was very difficult because the Turkish government put my name on the Interpol (watch) list, and they revoked my passport,” Freedom said. “But in the end it happened. I have been waiting for this moment since the day I stepped foot in America.”

He said the inspiration for his name change came from his first trip to the US in 2009. He was with his teammates when one of them started criticizing former President Barack Obama.

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“I was so scared (for) him, I turned around and was like, ‘Dude, what are you doing? They will put you in jail. ‘ He turned around and started laughing at me. He was like, “Dude, don’t worry about it, this isn’t Turkey,” Freedom said. “In America people are very fortunate to be in this situation, to have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press. … People in Turkey, there are a lot of political prisoners and a lot of journalists in prison.

“Here I want to make that word a part of me.”

He said the support of his teammates gave him the motivation to speak up for causes he believes in, such as human rights abuses in China and around the world. He also said he had a chat with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver before the season to make sure his actions wouldn’t be an issue.

“I always try to stand up and fight for freedom, truth and democracy. Freedom said. “I said to Adam, ‘Have I broken any rules?’ He said no. I told him, if there are any rules that I break, let me know. I will be the first to follow. He said, ‘No, you’re not breaking any rules.’ He was like, “Listen, you’re free to say whatever you want.”

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JOE HERNANDEZ

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