Frank Yue | Epoch Times
NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom has been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. The nomination has won support from 30 Nobel laureates as well as well-wishers on social media.
“I’m honored and humbled to receive the nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize,” Freedom wrote in a tweet. “Sometimes taking a stand is more important than your next paycheck.”
The majority of messages left below his post are congratulatory, describing his nomination as “well-deserved.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wrote on Twitter on Feb. 17: “Enes is a fearless fighter for human rights & freedom for all & I couldn’t be more proud to see him receive a nomination for the Nobel Prize.”
On Feb. 16, Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) said he was proud to support Freedom’s efforts to “bring awareness to human rights abuses around the world.”
Freedom has been outspoken about the issues of China’s human rights, which are persistently censored in China.
The NBA player also urged athletes to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which Beijing has been using as a powerful propaganda tool to enhance its international image.
“The Chinese government does not represent Olympic core values of excellence, of respect, of friendship,” Freedom said during a press conference hosted by Scott in January, citing the regime’s broad suppression spanning Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Tibet, the intimidation of Taiwan, and inside China itself. “They are a brutal dictatorship.”
Yao Ming, a former NBA basketball player who now presides over the state-affiliated Chinese Basketball Association, invited Freedom to visit China to develop a “more comprehensive understanding” of Beijing on Jan. 18.
The following day, Freedom responded on Twitter by asking: “Will you join me in visiting Uyghur Slave Labor Camps, Tibet, HK & Taiwan? … Let me know if Xi approves!”
On Feb. 10, 2022, Freedom was traded to the Houston Rockets. However, four days later, the Rockets waived him.
“This is outrageous,” Bill Browder, head of the Global Magnitsky Justice campaign, wrote on Twitter on Feb. 13. “Enes Kanter Freedom, the only NBA player brave enough to speak out against China’s human rights atrocities gets traded from the Celtics to the Rockets and then immediately waived (i.e., fired). A disastrous precedent.”
Freedom, who was raised in Turkey, changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom on Nov. 29, 2021, the day when he completed his citizenship oath ceremony.