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Enes Kantor Freedom Wins Hardwired for Freedom Award

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Enes Kanter Freedom will receive its second annual Hardwired for Freedom Award in recognition ofNBA players' human rights activism off the court around the world.

Freedom told his Fox News Digital:

Freedom's award is the result of years of human rights advocacy and a personal mission that has often been at odds with the NBA and league stars his players. Freedom was born in Switzerland to Turkish parents, grew up in Turkey and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. He was drafted 3rd overall in his 2011 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, but his career soon became more defined by his off-court performances than his on-court performances.

Freedom, who was born Enes Kanter but changed his surname to Enes Kanter Freedom when he obtained U.S. citizenship last year, voiced his opposition to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2013. began to rise. In 2016, he called Erdogan, who has long faced accusations of human rights abuses from international observers on Twitter, "the Hitler of our century." That same year, he was disowned by his family and encouraged to change his last name as a result of supporting a failed coup attempt.

Enes Kantor Freedom Calls LeBron James: 'It breaks my heart when people take freedom for granted'

Boston Celtics' Enes Kanter smiles before an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, on Oct. 22, 2021, in Boston.

Enes Kanter of the Boston Celtics announced on October 22, 2021 that Smiling before an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

In 2017, the Turkish government accused him of participating in the Islamist Hizmet movement.,, who issued arrest warrants to Freedom, eventually had their citizenship revoked for failing to appear in Turkish court later that year. The move left him stateless, fearful of traveling abroad, and in 2019 he refused to travel with the New York Knicks out of fear for his safety.

An ESPN article in 2019 stated, Detailing the dangers of Freedom's outspokenness, theFBI reported that NBA players were equipped with devices that could alert nearby agents in an emergency for credible threats. into his life.

However, Freedom's claims are not limited to Turkey. He has expressed his support for his Free Tibet movement on his social media and has spoken out against Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2021. The NBA was controversial for the move. The NBA has avoided speaking out against China in recent years out of fear it could alienate the league from what it sees as an important new market.

In retaliation, the Chinese government said Freedom was playing at the time. While it has suspended all games for its team, the Boston Celtics,, the move did not deter Freedom from its candid approach. He called for a boycott of the 2022 Chinese Winter Olympics over China's treatment of its Uyghurs, but the movement met with partial success when President Biden announced a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics late last year. finished.

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter displays a message on his shoes during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Boston. 

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Showing messages on shoes during the first half of his NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards in Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021.  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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Freedom's advocacy put him at odds with his NBA and other outspoken stars. Freedom has long criticized LeBron James. He is perhaps the NBA's most famous star and one of the most outspoken players. Last year, Freedom offered to sit with James to "educate" him on human rights abuses in China.

"I don't know if he's educated enough, but I'm here to educate him and help him because it's not about the money," said Freedom. told ESPN at the time. "It's about morals, principles and values. It's about what you stand for. There are things much bigger than money. If LeBron stopped making money now, what would happen to his grandchildren and Grandchildren and grandchildren can live the best lives ever.”

Last month, Freedom attacked James again for his comments about imprisoned WNBA star Britney Griner. Russia.

"It's really sad and heartbreaking when people take freedom for granted. That's why I was so confused," Cantor Freedom said. told "American Newsroom" host Bill Hemmer.

LeBron James #of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Enes Kanter of the New York Knicks exchange words in the first half at Madison Square Garden on November 13, 2017 in New York City.

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Enes Kanter of the New York Knicks speak during the first half at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Nov. 13, 2017.(Elsa/Getty Images)

ENES KANTER FREEDOM said after the NBA-dominant records surfaced, "Chinese dictatorship

Freedom said his battle with the NBA and its most famous star was due to him being cut by the Houston Rockets earlier this year and joining the team. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has denied the allegations.

Tina Ramirez, founder and president of Hardwired, a human rights group founded in 2013.& He said Freedom's courage in making such a high personal sacrifice was the reason he won the award. This year's Hardwired for Freedom award.

"Enes Freedom has tirelessly defended the rights and freedoms of people around the world," Ramirez told her Fox News Digital. "That's why he's an ideal recipient of the 2022 Hardwired for Freedom Award."

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bring greater awareness to the plight of the oppressed throughout the world.

"It is of course humbling and gratifying to be recognized for our diligence, but it also results in major human rights abuses around the world and the suffering of millions of people who routinely endure tyranny." , I hope it gets more attention," he said. he told Fox News Digital. “With so many people around the world living lives of oppression, there is a long way to go, but I am optimistic and will continue to work with Hardwired Global against tyranny in all its forms. I look forward to it.”