Enes Kanter on Monday became a U.S. citizen and officially changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.
Freedom posted a video of himself taking his naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States. After he took his oath, he waved a small American flag to celebrate becoming an American citizen.
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“I am proud to be an American,” he wrote in a tweet. “Greatest nation in the world.
“The Land of the free, and home of the brave.”
The name change comes as Freedom has spoken out on geopolitical issues concerning China’s human rights abuses, as well as Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan’s fight for freedom. Freedom was born in Turkey but was later exiled over his support for Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish religious cleric living in exile in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
Kanter has been outspoken about China, railing against the government over the treatment of Uyghur Muslims and has called for the freedom of Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Kanter has won sneakers promoting his own geopolitical initiatives.
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He’s also called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to abandon its plans to hold the Olympics in Beijing in February. He told “The Story” last week that even if much of the professional sports world remains uniformly silent on Chinese human rights abuses and other allegations against the Communist leadership there, “someone has to do it.”
“There’s so many athletes, so many actors, so many singers and rappers out there. They’re scared to say a word because they care too much about their money — the endorsement deals, what the teams they play for say,” the Turkish-American athlete said.
“They should know one thing: It should be morals and principles over money. It shouldn’t be the opposite way. People’s life depends on this,” Kanter added, noting that young people around the world look up to athletes in all sports, and therefore, the players should be careful about how they conduct themselves.
Host Martha MacCallum noted that Kanter has long been a critic of the Chinese Communist Party and its leader Xi Jinping, showing a photo of a pair of sneakers he wore during a recent game that depicted Xi as Winnie the Pooh with the caption “Xi is a control freak.”
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“I do feel alone, yes. … So many people care too much about the business side of it. But to me, human rights are way more important than anything you offer me,” Kanter told MacCallum.
Kanter currently plays for the Boston Celtics. He’s averaging 4.7 points in 10 appearances this season.
Fox News’ Charles Creitz contributed to this report.