Enes Kanter Freedom has recently been in the news for his outspoken criticism of LeBron James and Nike. He has repeatedly attacked James and Nike for their association with China, where Nike supposedly uses forced labor to create their sneakers.
When speaking to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Freedom suggested that he would like to educate LeBron James on these matters, as to him "it's about what you stand for" and claimed that "it's definitely time for athletes to stand up for the things they believe in".
In March, Nike released a statement denying those allegations, saying it does not source materials from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), though a Congressional report in March 2020 listed Nike among the name brands that are suspected of using forced labor in the XUAR or sourcing from suppliers that do. Freedom was wearing a “Freedom for Uyghur” shirt at his press conference Tuesday and has been wearing custom-designed shoes by Chinese artist Badiucao emblazoned with images and slogans criticizing the Chinese government, Nike and even James. When Boston hosted James and the Lakers last week, Freedom wore red shoes with the phrase “Hey (King) still researching and getting educated?”
“I don’t know if he’s educated enough, but I’m here to educate him and I’m here to help him, because it’s not about money,” Freedom said of James. “It’s about morals, principles and values. It’s about what you stand for. There are way bigger things than money. If LeBron stopped making money now, his grandkids and grandkids and grandkids can have the best life ever. I feel like it’s definitely time for athletes to stand up for the things they believe in — not just in America — but all over the world.”
It remains to be seen what happens in the future between Enes Kanter Freedom and LeBron James. James previously revealed that Freedom avoided him during a matchup between the Celtics and the Lakers, and it's clear that they have not spoken to another yet about Freedom's criticisms of James.
LeBron James is generally known for being a great role model off the court, and he has done many philanthropic activities in the past. Many people have disagreed with Freedom's criticism of James, but even with the outside noise, Enes Kanter Freedom has not relented in his verbal attacks.