Celtics center Enes Kanter is set to become a United States citizen on Monday, and with that important life event there will be a name change.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Sunday that Kanter will be legally changing his name to Enes Kanter Freedom, with Freedom becoming his new last name and Kanter shifting to his middle name. Kanter retweeted Charania's report, seemingly confirming it.
Kanter, who grew up in Turkey, has been an outspoken political activist throughout his career. His criticism of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s history of corruption and authoritarianism led to the Turkish government canceling his passport and issuing a warrant for his arrest in 2017.
This season, Kanter has focused his attention on China, its president Xi Jinping, and the relationships the NBA and Nike have with China. He has called Xi a “brutal dictator,” voiced his support for the Free Tibet movement, and called out China’s alleged forced labor of Uyghurs, an ethnic minority group in the country.
As a result of Kanter’s criticism, the Chinese government stopped broadcasting Celtics games in the country beginning in October.
In addition to criticizing the NBA and Nike generally for their silence on China’s human rights violations as they continue to do business in the country, Kanter has also ripped Nike faces LeBron James and Michael Jordan for not speaking up.
Kanter has appeared in nine games for the Celtics this season, averaging 4.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 11 minutes per game.