There is no love lost between Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter.
Kanter, who has a history of speaking out against various political injustices happening around the world, opted to mock James ahead of Friday’s showdown between the Lakers and Celtics by poking at James’ indifference towards atrocities committed by China.
One of Kanter’s shoes featured James’ likeness being crowned by Chinese president Xi Jinping. The second had the words: “I am informed and educated on the situation,” written on it, a reference to James’ 2019 comments after he criticized Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of protests in Hong Kong.
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
As it turns out, James and Kanter had a bit of a pregame run-in prior to their game.
“I don’t give too many people my energy,” James said after the fact.
“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. … 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 saw him in the hallway, and he walked right by me.”
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 19, 2021
Of course, that logic works both ways.
James knows that Kanter had been poking at him for a while now, so he too could have done something in that pregame confrontation.
Part of the issue is that James has frequently inserted himself into political topics, specifically as they pertain to racial injustice.
Because of that, many find his indifference to the atrocities being committed in China hypocritical – particularly given his financial incentivization to not criticize China.