Enes Kanter is not a particularly big fan of LeBron James.
In the lead-up to the Los Angeles Lakers’ Friday evening battle against the Boston Celtics, Kanter took repeated swipes at James and his record on human rights.
In particular, Kanter was unhappy with James’ refusal to call out China for its various human rights abuses.
As a result, he prepared a special pair of shoes for Friday’s game. One showed James’ likeness being given a crown by Chinese president Xi Jinping. The other had the words: “I am informed and educated on the situation.” For the uninitiated, that quote is a reference to James’ 2019 comments after he criticized then-Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of protests in Hong Kong.
Kanter seems to believe that James is a hypocrite for repeatedly calling out civil rights violations in America, but ignoring the plight of people overseas.
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
Ahead of Friday’s game, as both the Celtics and Lakers were warming up, an interesting sequence occurred between James and Kanter.
Footage from their encounter speaks for itself:
Moments after LeBron James walks on to the floor to warm up, right behind him is Enes Kanter who has on more than one occasion, called out LBJ for not speaking out more on social injustices outside the US. #ackward pic.twitter.com/l8lBkXcJvN
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@ASherrodblakely) November 19, 2021
Reaction on social media was swift:
Cat got ya tongue Enes? Lmao
— Eurostep (@futureof2k) November 20, 2021
The national broadcast had some horrendous takes on this situation. They claim Kanter is in the wrong for singling out lebron and not mentioning kyrie and ad being team nike. Lebron is a big boy, he doesn’t need them coddling him.
— Dannyeightball (@Dannyeightball) November 20, 2021
He’s right there, Enes. For like 3 hours. Why….why you no speak
— Michael (@Mikey2woToes) November 20, 2021
Talked shit before the game and then walked right past the man, cmon Kanter be better.
— Braden kolb (@bkolb557) November 20, 2021
Enes should speak out more rather than call out someone else who doesn’t seem to.
— Mehdi Libera (@Mehdi_lba) November 19, 2021
After the game, James called out Kanter for being all talk.
At the core of the criticism here is that James has often injected himself into political topics, particularly as they relate to racial discrimination. As a result, folks find his disinterest in the atrocities being committed in China hypocritical – especially given his financial incentivization to not criticize China.
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 19, 2021
Where will this feud between Kanter and James go from here? Time will tell.