As part of the formal process of becoming a U.S. citizen, the Boston Celtics’ Enes Kanter center will change its name to Enes Kanter Freedom, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. As Charania reports, Kanter will now be the 29-year-old’s middle name and Freedom will be his new surname.
While it may seem like just a name change, for Freedom it’s so much more.
Born in Switzerland to Turkish parents, Freedom grew up in Turkey before moving to the United States in 2009 to attend high school and then attend the University of Kentucky, where he is alleged to be ineligible to compete.
3 overall draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Freedom has now been in the US for over 12 years but remains as in touch with happenings in his native Turkey as he has been. repeatedly spoke out against the Turkish government, leading to an international arrest warrant.
“Freedom” has long been a meaningful word for Freedom, Whose Twitter bio reads “Freedom IS NOT FREEDOM,” while his title reads “freedom for all.”
A search through Freedom’s Twitter timeline reveals much of the same, including a June 2020 tweet in which he shared that he would receive US citizenship in 2021, write that “I will not take for granted the freedom that I have in this country that Turkey has taken from me.”
A month later, the Celtics center shared that the word “Freedom” would be social justice message displayed on the back of his jersey in NBA Restart in the Orlando “bubble,” writes that “freedom is essential to all.”
Freedom later shared another image of the back of his jersey along with a quote by Malcolm X linking peace with freedom.
As a member of the Celtics at the time of the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season, the image of “Freedom” on the back of Celtics jerseys will be essentially the same, save for a number change, as Freedom currently wearing No. 13 after a year with the Portland Trail Blazers.