NBA superstar LeBron James has broken his silence over Enes Kanter’s call-out last week, where he accused the “Space Jam 2” actor of choosing “money over morals” on the issue of Nike and alleged forced labor in China.
The clapback: During a press conference after the Lakers-Celtics match on Friday, James, 36, said Kanter, 29, was using James’ name “to create an opportunity for himself.”
- “If you know me, I don’t really give too many people my energy. He’s definitely someone I wouldn’t give my energy to,” the Los Angeles Lakers star added.
- While James said he would not comment further, he did share that he and the Celtics’ Kanter had seen each other that night, but no words were spoken between the two. James said, “He’s always had a word or two to say [in] my direction. As men, if you got an issue with someone, come up to him … He had an opportunity [to do that] tonight. I seen him in the hallway, he walked right past me.”
- In an interview with Medaite, Kanter brushed off James’ comment and said “someone had to do it” while reiterating his past tweet about the star, stating that “we need to call out these hypocrite players who care about money over morals and principles.”
- The Celtics player claimed that he had “so many conversations” with James’ past teammates, who allegedly told him that the Lakers star only cared “about his PR more than anything.”
Switching targets: After responding to James’ comment, Kanter then switched his scope to legendary retired NBA star Michael Jordan, whom he accused of not doing anything “for the Black community in America” besides “giving them money.”
- “I feel like we need to call out these athletes,” he said. “At least Lebron James is going out there and being the voice of all those people who are oppressed in America.”
- Kanter further claimed that Jordan only cared about his shoe sales in America and around the world: “I feel like we need to call out these athletes and not be scared about who they are.”
- The recent call-outs were not the first time Kanter tagged the two players in his advocacy against forced labor in China. In a tweet in October, the Celtics center mentioned James and Jordan while tweeting to Nike owner Phil Knight, where he invited all of them to fly to China to see the labor camps.
To the owner of @Nike, Phil Knight
How about I book plane tickets for us
and let’s fly to China together.
We can try to visit these SLAVE labor
camps and you can see it with your
own eyes.@KingJames @Jumpman23
you guys are welcome to come too.#EndUyghurForcedLabor pic.twitter.com/241bg887JO
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 26, 2021
Other details: Kanter has criticized Nike numerous times on social media in the last few months alleging that the company had ties with a factory in China that employs forced Uyghur laborers, Quartz reported.
- In a statement, the company clarified that it had confirmed with its suppliers that they are not “using textiles or spun yarn” from the alleged forced labor camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
- The Celtics player also spoke out against Chinese leader Xi Jinping, whom he previously called an “insecure tyrant.” He also stood up for the freedom of Tibet and Taiwan, which gained much attention online, notably from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
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