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According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kanter is legally changing his name to Enes Kanter Freedom, and will become a U.S. citizen on Monday.
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is legally changing his name to Enes Kanter Freedom, @TheAthletic @Stadium learned. Kanter will be his middle name, Freedom is his new last name. He becomes a U.S. citizen on Monday.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 28, 2021
Kanter outspoken on human rights issues
Kanter, 29, has become increasingly vocal about civil rights and human rights issues around the world. While he has spoken up about the regime in his native Turkey, he's lately focused on China. He recently called Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai "spineless" and a "coward & puppet of the Chinese gov’t" in a tweet posted last week when the Celtics played the Nets. Tsai supported China's stance on Hong Kong in 2019 during the Daryl Morey-Hong Kong-China dust-up, which ended up costing the NBA hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
Kanter's outspokenness earned him praise from San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who has never been shy about speaking up for what he believes in.
Pop praised Enes Kanter for speaking up about human rights abuses around the world.
"I am glad that Enes speaks up when he feels like it. I think it’s great. No reason not to."
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) November 27, 2021
Kanter's not the first active NBA player to change their name to something symbolic and non-traditional. Lloyd Free, who played for six teams including the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors from 1975-1988, changed his name to World B. Free in 1981. Ron Artest, who played from 1999 to 2017, changed his name to Metta World Peace in 2011. In 2020, he changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest.