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Kanter challenges LeBron over ties to Nike, China; LeBron responds he won’t “give his energy” to Kanter

Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 19: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics look to rebound on November 19, 2021 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Celtics center Enes Kanter has been on a public mission all season to raise awareness about human rights abuses in China (which led to China blacking out Boston games in the country). He has used social media and interviews to call Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator,” written “free Tibet” on his shoes, called out Nike for doing business and making many of their shoes in China, urged President Biden to boycott the upcoming 2020 Winter Olympics in Beijing and more.

He’s also challenged LeBron James over his ties to Nike and China — and did it again the day before the Lakers faced the Celtics Friday night.

After the Celtics beat the Lakers in LeBron’s return to the court following an abdominal injury, James was asked about Kanter’s comments and was dismissive of the Turkish center.

“I don’t give too many people my energy. He’s definitely not someone I would give my energy to,” LeBron said. “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.”

The Lakers and Celtics play again on Dec. 7 when Boston comes to Los Angeles.