The NBA plans to give its players a unique platform in Orlando, and Enes Kanter intends on using it.
The league and the NBA Players Association have discussed allowing players to replace the names on the back of their jerseys with personalized messages that call attention to a charitable cause or social issue.
During a recent interview with CNN Philippines, Kanter revealed the one-word message he has planned for his Boston Celtics jersey: Freedom.
The whole world knows what I stand for— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) July 2, 2020
This is what I will be putting on the back of my jersey during rest of the @NBA season
My jersey will represent the people & countries through out the
who are fighting for their rights & their freedom
Never Give Up ✊@CNN pic.twitter.com/7MV87lq8NB
That word is a fitting choice for the Turkey native, who has repeatedly criticized the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for repressing its citizens' freedoms. Kanter himself is banned from Turkey and has been labeled a "terrorist" by Erdogan's regime, while his father was imprisoned in Turkey until recently.
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"That freedom means so much to me, not just for my country in Turkey, not just for people in America, but throughout the whole world," Kanter said.
Kanter recently joked on Instagram that he should have "Erdogan Sucks" on the back of his jersey, but the 28-year-old wants his message to extend beyond his homeland.
"If you look at what's going on in the world right now, lots of countries, lots of people out there need their freedom, and they're fighting for it," Kanter said.
" ... My message to the whole world is, keep fighting for freedom. Keep fighting for justice. Stand for what you believe in and never back down."
Kanter also has been an advocate for social change in the United States, attending a "Black Lives Matter" rally in Boston last month to protest racial inequality and police brutality following the murder of George Floyd.
The NBA and the NBPA are still ironing out the details of their jersey initiative as the league prepares to resume the 2019-20 season later this month. But it should surprise no one that Kanter already has a plan in place.