With WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner still detained after Russian officials found cartridges with hash oil in them, many, including her coach, have spoken out against the situation. For NBA legend LeBron James, he suggested that the basketball player might not want to go back. During his show “The Shop”, James stated, “Now, how can she feel like America has her back? I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even want to go back to America?'” While his comments drew backlash, one outspoken voice was from Enes Kanter Freedom.
Spending 11 years in the NBA, playing for the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics, Freedom tweeted, “You call it a step back, we call this a walk back. 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 received his own share of backlash, as he followed up with, “Sad to see so many people bashing U.S. when they have no idea what’s happening on the other side of the world. I’m not saying the U.S is perfect but if you ever visit China, Turkey, Iran, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Qatar, Myanmar, Rwanda … Then you will appreciate what you have here.”
This isn’t the first time LeBron and Freedom disagreed. In 2021, Freedom suggested LeBron demand Nike speak out against the Chinese Communist Party. He went far beyond words as he wore shoes with LeBron bowing to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
LeBron didn’t fight the criticism, saying in an interview, “I think if you know me you know I don’t really give too many people my energy and he’s definitely not someone I will give my energy to. Trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself. Definitely won’t comment too much on that, if any. That will be where I lay that at.”
The NBA star admitted, “He’s always kind of had a word or two to say in my direction, and as a man, if you got an issue with somebody, you really come up to him. He had his opportunity tonight. I seen him in the hallway, he walked right by me.”