29-year-old Enes Kanter Freedom has been making waves around the NBA community for speaking out on social justice issues.
Besides officially changing his last name, the guy has made a number of statements calling out Chinese communism and all those who, in his eyes, have failed to draw attention to the problem.
Recently, he even went after Michael Jordan for not using his power and status to help the black community.
“Not many people are talking about Michael Jordan," said Enes. "Michael Jordan hasn’t done anything, nothing, for the Black community in America besides just, you know, giving them money. I feel like we need to call out these athletes. At least LeBron James is going out there and being the voice of all those people who are oppressed in America. Michael Jordan has not done anything for the Black community because he cares too much about his shoe sales all over the world and America, and I feel like we need to call out these athletes and not be scared about who they are.”
Freedom's mission is noble and it's nice to see him use his position to fight for human rights.
While the case can be made that MJ can, and should, do more for the black community, he has empowered many African Americans to pursue their dreams and has broken many boundaries with his role as an NBA team owner and businessman.
On 'The Big Podcast,' Shaquille O'Neal was one of the latest to chime in on Freedom's comments about Jordan and he made his stance very clear.
"I understand your beef with LeBron, but don't be talking about what Mike does for the black community," said Shaq on 'The Big Podcast.' "I don't know his name, I'm not memorizing his name, I don't give a sh*t what he change his name to."
Metta Sandiford-Artest offered a similar perspective and went into much more detail about why he believes Enes may have gotten a little carried away.
"I feel like he reaching a little bit because you can't fault certain people for doing what they do. For example: you make it to the league. You make a ton of money. Let's say you're Michael Jordan. You're not trying to mess your bread up because you don't get these opportunities much. Some people are built differently. And I think he's looking at it like 'we're here now in America, I'm doing something right.' But we from the trenches. I'm from New York, where the police used to plant drugs on us. We're from the trenches man, we're trying to make it. He don't get that part. He's looking at it from a lens of, 'we're gonna fight for black people' but he don't understand what comes with that."
NBA athletes have a platform very few Americans get to experience. They have the resources and the power to make some real-world changes.
When it comes to human rights issues, though, things can get complicated. Standing up against certain things in a certain way can come with some consequences, even for guys like LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
If you ask Metta and Shaq, you can't blame a guy for just trying to 'make it.' Still, guys like Enes and many more will continue to hold the NBA's biggest names accountable.