An NBA free agent, in a Tuesday tweet, trash-talked a player many fans consider the best professional basketball player ever.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James had commented about the prolonged imprisonment of WNBA player Brittney Griner by Russian authorities. Free agent Enes Kanter Freedom objected strenuously to his remarks.
Griner was arrested trying to board an airplane February 17 after authorities at a Moscow area airport found cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage. Prosecutors allege she purchased two cartridges containing 0.252 grams and 0.45 grams of hash oil for personal use, according to the NPR report. She was returning to the U.S. after playing for a Russian team during the WNBA off-season.
The female basketball player pleaded guilty last week in a Russian court to possession charges that reportedly carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Griner has been held in captivity for more than 150 days.
“LeBron James says if he were Brittney Griner, he’d question returning to the United States,” TMZ’s caption read, above a link to their story about James.
James took heat from many people, one of whom was Freedom, on social media who considered his remark unpatriotic. The Lakers player responded to the criticism over his earlier tweet about Griner.
“My comments on ‘The Shop’ regarding Brittney Griner wasn’t knocking our beautiful country,” James insisted. “I was simply saying how she’s probably feeling emotionally along with so many other emotions, thoughts, etc inside that cage she’s been in for over 100+ days! Long story short #BringHerHome.”
Freedom was not satisfied with “King James” and extended his earlier comments knocking the vaunted player.
“You call it a step back, we call this a walk back,” commented Freedom. “You are free to leave buddy or you can even volunteer for an exchange for her. Some people literally have NO idea what is it like to live in a dictatorship.
“Keep taking your freedom for granted.”
Freedom was born in Turkey to parents who were citizens of Switzerland, but he emigrated to the U.S. and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. The naturalized basketball player was a center for five NBA teams. The Celtics traded him to the Houston Rockets, as part of a multiplayer trade, in February. Days later, the Rockets released him on waivers.
The Daily Wire report notes Freedom vocally criticized China while playing for the Boston Celtics. He urged them to “free Tibet” last October that reportedly led to Chinese streaming service TenCent deleting archived Celtics games and blacking out all Celtics games on its platform.
He told the New York Times he believes the Celtics trading him was in retaliation for his outspoken political stands because his advocacy cost the franchise millions.
His words may have been meant to make freedom ring, but the telephone has not since his release from Houston.
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