NBA player Enes Kanter described Chinese President Xi Jinping as an “insecure tyrant” in a tweet on Sunday and further called for the boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
What happened: In his tweet, the 29-year-old Swiss-born American Turkish player shared a few screenshots of his sneakers, which he dubbed as “#FreedomShoes” that featured messages such as “No Beijing 2022,” “Move the Games” and “No Rights, No Games,” according to Fox News.
- “The genocidal Chinese government and the insecure tyrant behind it all XI JINPING must not be allowed to host the upcoming Winter Olympics. Say NO to @Beijing2022,” Kanter wrote.
- The tweet was the Boston Celtics player’s latest post against alleged oppression, particularly the forced labor of the Uyghur people, the most persecuted ethnic minority in China.
- On Oct. 26, Kanter accused Nike of using “slave labor” for their shoes and invited its founder and majority owner Phil Knight, L.A. Lakers star LeBron James and retired NBA legend Michael Jordan to fly to China to see the alleged camps.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 25, 2021
To the owner of @Nike, Phil Knight
How about I book plane tickets for us
and let’s fly to China together.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 26, 2021
Free Tibet: Kanter also posted a video addressed to Xi, who he described as a “brutal dictator,” on Oct. 20. While wearing a shirt depicting the Dalai Lama — an exiled Tibetan leader — the Celtics player expressed his support for Tibet and its freedom.
Dear Brutal Dictator XI JINPING and the Chinese Government
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 20, 2021
- His message in the video stirred backlash in China. The Celtics’ game against the New York Knicks was canceled on Tencent, and the company further stated they would no longer stream upcoming Celtics games on their platform.
- A fan account on China’s Weibo condemned the NBA star’s message, saying, “Resolutely resist any behavior that damages national harmony and the dignity of the motherland!”