The Celtics and Lakers rivalry has had plenty of sizzle going back decades, but tonight’s meeting in Boston could take on a fiery new tone. The Celts’ back-bencher Enes Kanter has gone on a recent tear by blistering communist China over enslaved Uygher minorities and the nation’s clampdown on Hong Kong freedom. On Thursday, Kanter turned his focus onto L.A.’s LeBron (“LeChina”) James and on Nike for refusing to speak out against China’s abuses.
Kanter has only played in four games for a total of eight minutes this season, so he will likely have plenty of free time to trash talk James from the bench. That’s if James plays. If they’re both on the court at the same time, they could get ready to rumble and it could turn physical. Though Boston is playing Kanter sparingly and some suspect the NBA is behind that, in order to appease China. When Kanter ripped China and its leader last month, that country halted the airing of Celtics games, due to his criticism.
James is day-to-day after suffering an injury Nov. 3. His status was upgraded to “questionable” Thursday. He’s missed eight games with an abdominal strain, but he worked out Wednesday in Milwaukee. Kanter could give him a headache tonight if the two engage one another verbally.
Mediaite reported Thursday that Kanter “has showed no signs of slowing down his crusade against human rights violations in China by targeting two NBA heavyweights for remaining silent on the issue.”
The NBA is trying to downplay China’s heinous human rights violations in order to protect its large financial market there. In recent weeks, Kanter “has blown up that silence, calling for a ‘free Tibet’ and blasting Chinese president Xi Jinping as a ‘brutal dictator.’ Now Kanter is taking aim at LeBron James,” Mediaite reported. On Thursday, Kanter tweeted:
“Money over morals for the King. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [China] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”
Kanter was also critical of James’ partnership with Nike because both profit off the backs of slave laborers producing their basketball shoes. Nike is a major sponsor of the NBA, and “both organizations feed off their partnerships with China,” Mediaite reported. Also, last month Nike unveiled the new LeBron James Innovation Center.
Kanter’s education dig at James referred to a comment the “King” made regarding China in 2019. That’s when former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong in its quest for independence from China. Instead of joining with others standing with Hong Kong, James ridiculed Morey for not being “educated” on that international situation.
In a more congenial tweet, Kanter previously urged James, Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to accompany him to China to see the slave labor camps for themselves. He got no takers from the three people who will not risk alienating China and losing money.
Mediaite further referred to James as one who’s been a social activist throughout his career. What it neglected to report is that James is an activist when it suits him financially.