Enes Kanter Freedom, the NBA’s resident China critic, said he would soon set up a foundation to fight for civil rights in countries like China and Turkey.
The center, who has 11 years of experience, said the Enes Kanter Free Foundation will occupy him full-time because he once again gave up playing in the NBA. He will launch the nonprofit Thursday at a news conference on Capitol Hill, where he has strong conservative support.
“A lot of people like to ask me if I’m a Republican or a Democrat, but I don’t want to take sides,” Liberty, 30, told The Washington Times. “I’m for truth and justice. I have to speak up for what’s right, even if it means sacrificing everything I have.”
He confirmed that no team has approached him since the Houston Rockets waived his contract after acquiring him from the Boston Celtics in February.
His often outspoken criticism of the coalition’s close business ties to China and human rights abuses by the Communist regime has earned him acclaim from conservatives and has appeared in speeches on Fox News and the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“I believe the NBA is the most hypocritical organization in America, and I do believe I’ve been hacked. If I only talked about Turkey and not China, I’d be playing in the league now,” he said in an exclusive interview.
The NBA did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
In February, the league emailed a statement to The Times denying it orchestrated his waiver.
“We continue to support Enes Kanter in freely expressing his views on the things that matter to him, as we do with all members of the NBA family,” the statement read. “The NBA League Office Not involved in these roster decisions involving Mr. Freedom.”
Mr. Liberty scoffed at the statement.
“All these owners pretend they care about social justice. But they only care about money and business,” he said.
His sneakers displayed a political message, and his viral video on Twitter called Chinese President Xi Jinping a “ruthless dictator” for treating Uyghur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists, leading Chinese TV to ban all Celtics in October Team game.
Mr Freedom has slammed NBA and league star LeBron James for profiting from forced labor in China in sneaker endorsements in interviews throughout the season, even though a Chinese official said the big man’s claims were “not worth refuting.” .
Mr Liberty said he believes the Celtics’ suspension has cost the league “millions of dollars”.
“Unfortunately, no one talks about China because everyone is afraid of the power they have. Everyone is afraid of the business they might lose, the sales of shoes, and not a single Muslim country says China is doing it wrong,” he said Wednesday.
He will share his criticism of communist China at next week’s closing dinner of the International Religious Freedom Summit, held in Washington by more than 40 advocacy groups.
Born in Switzerland to Turkish parents, Mr Liberty lost his citizenship in Turkey and his father was jailed for speaking out against the government. After becoming a U.S. citizen in November, he added “liberty” to his name.