Enes Kanter is a good basketball player, but he's also well-respected in the political realm for his advocacy off the court.
Kanter, a Turkish national and outspoken critic of Turkey's current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, got a shout-out Monday night from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who was a fan of Kanter's while he was with the Portland Trail Blazers last season.
Sorry to hear my friend @EnesKanter is leaving the @trailblazers for the @celtics but looking forward to working with my Massachusetts colleagues on behalf of this eloquent & brave young man. Enes, we won't ever forget you in #RipCity.
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) July 1, 2019
Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey then tweeted his own endorsement of Kanter, welcoming the new Celtics big man to Boston "with open arms."
Massachusetts welcomes @EnesKanter with open arms, @RonWyden. Yet another community will be inspired by his excellence and his advocacy in the face of authoritarian intimidation. @celtics https://t.co/xAI53zdiYC
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) July 16, 2019
Kanter clearly appreciated the love, thanking Markey in a tweet for "upholding American values and standing up for Democracy and Human Rights."
Such an honor to get welcomed by another great community and leader @SenMarkey
Thank you for upholding American values and standing up for Democracy and Human Rights.
I hope to make the state proud!
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) July 16, 2019
Kanter has repeatedly criticized the Turkish government as an NBA player -- he called Erdogan "the Hitler of our century" in 2017 -- and has paid the price for doing so. Turkey put out an extradition request for the 27-year-old in January claiming he was suspected of being part of a terrorist organization and revoked his passport back in 2017.
But it appears the veteran big man will have the freedom to speak his mind in Boston, where his teammates and the local leadership are behind him.
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Enes Kanter has support from Mass. Senator as critic of Turkish president originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston