China has long understood that the path to becoming a global superpower runs through the United States, but that taking any sort of military action against US interests would be an enormous step in the wrong direction. So, instead, China has been waging an international economic war that would see their way of life exported to the global pop culture.
Essentially what is happening here is that Beijing is holding their own consumers hostage, and refusing to allow them to support brands, corporations, and entertainers who’ve expressed their distaste for the litany of human rights abuses that China continues to engage in. One of the more frequent targets of these boycotts has been the NBA, where outspoken players and staff have drawn harsh rebukes from the CCP.
This has NBA bigwigs up in arms, and literally begging players not to speak up.
Boston Celtics big man Enes Freedom, formerly known as Enes Kanter, is one of the only NBA players willing to speak out against China’s “brutal dictator” Xi Jinping and the country’s continued human rights violations. His willingness to speak out when so many of his peers have stayed quiet has garnered him plenty of fanfare across the country.
But not everyone is pleased with his activism, including the NBA, which has a close partnership with China. Members of the association are apparently so upset with Freedom that they’ve even attacked his choice of footwear.Trending:
“Before the game at Madison Square Garden, two gentlemen from the NBA begged me to take the shoes off,” Freedom told the New York Post of his decision in November to wear custom shoes that say “Free Tibet.”
Freedom, aptly named, took issue with the suggestion.
Freedom, who grew up in Turkey and who officially became a U.S. citizen late last month, refused to comply with the request, citing his citizenship notes which suggest he didn’t need to.
“I was confused. I was getting ready for my citizenship test, and I knew that the First Amendment is freedom of speech. Them telling me to take my shoes off went against my First Amendment rights. I said I would not take them off. I didn’t care if I got banned or fined,” Freedom told The Post. “During halftime I received a text message from my manager: All the Celtics games were suddenly banned in China.It took one half of a Celtics game, with me wearing these shoes, on the bench, for the games to get banned.”
The NBA has denied that Freedom was asked to remove his shoes, but given their previous work in capitulating to China, there is little reason to doubt the player’s account.