clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Enes Kanter Becomes A Citizen Today

And that’s great news.

Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 28: Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics during the American national anthem prior to the first half of their NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on November 28, 2021 in Toronto, Canada. 
Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Have you ever been to a naturalization ceremony? It’s really quite moving. People from all parts of the world stand together and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

People who do so have put some time and effort into it and you will rarely see happier folk. It’s a very moving thing to witness.

On Monday, there will be a swearing in, most likely in Boston, with a very promising new American: the NBA’s Enes Kanter.

Kanter has been through a lot. A vocal critic of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he cannot go home and family members have been harassed and, we think, detained if not imprisoned. We think they’re also not allowed to leave Turkey.

Undeterred, Kanter has demanded freedom. Despite kidnapping threats even here, he has not backed down.

More recently, he has become the only NBA player we’re aware of who has challenged China over the Uyghur issue and even Hong Kong and Taiwan. He has also challenged his league and fellow players for not addressing these issues more forcefully and put LeBron James on the spot too.

In short, he has shown immense courage and bravery in pursuit of personal freedom and in defense of freedom for others.

A lot of native born Americans have forgotten about being free and brave so it’s good that he’s going to be one of us. Maybe he can help more remember that those qualities are of utmost importance.

One of the things you may or may not know about being naturalized is that, as part of a new start as an American, you can change your name to whatever you’d like. For his part, Kanter’s decision is simple: as of Monday, he’ll be Enes Kanter Freedom.

We’re really glad that he’s going to be one of us for a lot of reasons, not least of all because it will be harder for Erdogan or his henchmen to get to him. Another reason? The citizenship is in a sense a formality. He’s been one of us for a long time. We’re thrilled that it’s going to be official. He’s going to be a great American.