As a young basketball star in Turkey, Enes Kanter set his sights on the American dream and moved to the United States in hopes of playing college basketball. The NCAA ruled Enes was ineligible since he was paid to play in Turkey. So he entered the NBA draft and was chosen third overall and a promising career had begun. When Enes learned of corruption in his home country, he called out its leaders. When the Turkish government tried to silence Enes, he stood tall. Risking the loss of his family and his citizenship, he spoke against the atrocities taking place in Turkey. His family lost their jobs and were forced to denounce their son and brother and he hasn’t been allowed in his home country since.
Last year when Enes became aware of the human rights abuses in China, he spoke up again. Like Turkey, China and the NBA tried to silence Enes. Enes’ voice became louder and more profound as he gained prominence standing up to China as well as the NBA and its many superstars who are complicit in the abuse. From promoting sneakers made with slave labor and getting paid billions of dollars for lucrative Chinese television contracts, Enes exposed the superstars of professional basketball as cowards and hypocrites. He would not be silenced, so his team in collusion with the league cut him earlier this year. Enes became a naturalized citizen of the United States and changed is last name to FREEDOM. I invite you to join me in meeting Enes and hearing his powerful testimony about the cost of freedom and the exceptionalism of American liberty.
—Senator Kevin Cramer, North Dakota