Nba player

Anti-China NBA player mocked after being waived by Houston Rockets

Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) shoots a free throw in the second half against the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden. Photo: CI

The Houston Rockets NBA team, which has a large fan base in China, waived controversial Enes Kanter Freedom after acquiring the center via a trade from the Boston Celtics before the transfer window closed on Thursday (ET).

After ESPN NBA senior insider Adrian Wojnarowski, also known as Woj, announced the trade via a post on Twitter, netizens flooded the platform, mocking the player who was ignorant and arrogant over China’s core interests and internal affairs such as those involving Xinjiang, Xizang and Taiwan.

As a below average player, Kanter Freedom has averaged just 11.7 minutes, 3.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in 35 games this season. Despite a rare appearance this season, broadcasters in China have yet to pick up games featuring the Celtics, making the anti-China Kanter Freedom a burden on the league which has hundreds of millions of spectators in China.

After being traded and later waived by the Houston Rockets, Freedom said “the world will be shocked,” in a post on Twitter. However, if this is the end of his NBA career, Freedom’s future doesn’t seem as surprising as he claims.

“Now you can be a full-time puppet of John Bolton,” commented Chen Weihua, European bureau chief of China Daily, which received more than 1,600 likes.

Liberty was not a popular character in the NBA, and the Boston Celtics are the eighth team he served in the league. He called out Lebron James, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, last November for not supporting Nike and its alleged use of “forced labor” in China, which turned out to be fictitious and fabricated. James replied that Freedom had tried to use his name “to create an opportunity for himself” and “definitely not someone I would give my energy to”.

“I always thought of you as someone who stands up for freedom, then I heard you go to CPAC, the exact people who actively take away freedoms in the United States,” said another netizen, indicating the Freedom’s future plan as a speaker at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

With around 43,000 likes and 3,200 comments on Woj’s Twitter post saying “Rockets give up freedom”, the exchange becomes the second most viewed of the deadline, only behind the quake-sized exchange of land between two star players James Harden and Ben Simmons.

Some Twitter users said Freedom would now be a full-time activist or Fox News pundit.

“He’s not wanted in the NBA but at least he’s still wanted in Turkey,” one netizen said.

Kanter Freedom, an 11-year NBA veteran, changed his last name to Freedom to celebrate obtaining U.S. citizenship in November 2021. Freedom’s passport was revoked by his native Turkey due of his anti-government stance. He faces a minimum four-year sentence if he returns to Turkey, media reported.

“He’s really free now,” scoffed another.

Freedom’s name did not directly appear in Chinese sports news on Deadline Day, but many Celtics fans posted on the Hupu basketball forum expressing their excitement as if they “fought the virus “.

“He didn’t focus on basketball as a player and lost his job… And Chinese fans can expect to watch Boston games soon,” a sports commentator based in China told the Global Times on Friday. in Beijing who requested anonymity.

Freedom has repeatedly made false and irresponsible comments regarding China’s Xinjiang in 2021. During this time, it has publicly declared its support for secessionists in Xizang and Taiwan.

Rockets legend Yao Ming, who is also the head of the Chinese Basketball Association, said in a January Freedom interview that “people need to be responsible for what they say” and “see the China by itself can help them know China in a more holistic way.”