Enes Kanter, aka Enes Freedom, is a Turkish-American basketball player currently a free agent. He last played for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
An exceptional player on the court and an even better advocate for human rights. In brief, he is a role model who outshines both on and off the court.
Freedom started his NBA journey with Utah Jazz and later played with teams like Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Boston Celtics.
Representing his country, the professional basketball player was named FIBA Europe U-18 Championship MVP in 2009 and Albert Schweitzer Tournament Most Talented Player in 2008.
Enes Kanter is opinionated about his country and culture. He shares a strong political philosophy and has the guts to speak up without being scared of the outcomes.
He is popularly known for his pro-democracy activism and outspoken critique of the Turkish president, Erdogan, and China.
Besides, he has a great interest in wrestling and won the WWE 24/7 championship in 2019.
Kanter also uses his voice for a good cause; he utilizes his stardom and reach as a platform to make people aware of wrong deeds.
In this article, discover more information about the basketball player and activist, Enes Kanter, ranging from career, activism, personal life, and net worth.
Before getting any further, let’s look at the quick facts.
|Enes Kanter Freedom
|May 20, 1992
|Three (two brothers & a sister)
|31 Years Old
|113 kg/250 lb.
|Professional Career Team
|2011 (Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall)
|13 (for Boston Celtics)
|2008 – present
|Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
Early Life & Family
Enes Freedom was born Enes Kanter on May 20, 1992, to his father, Mehmet Kanter, and mother, Gülsüm Kanter, in Zurich, Switzerland.
His father attained his M.D. from the University of Zurich and is also a professor of histology and genetics at Trakya University. Similarly, his mother is a registered nurse.
Freedom grew up with three siblings (two brothers and a sister), all younger than him. One of his brothers, Kerem Kanter, is a professional basketball player for Akita Northern Happinets of the Japanese B.League.
Underkanter is a Muslim and practices Islam as his religion.
Moreover, he relishes watching wrestling, and his favorite TV show is SpongeBob SquarePants, from which he learned to speak English.
Kanter began his second grade at a Hizmet-affiliated school which is part of the Gulen movement in Turkey.
Moreover, he lived in Ankara and then moved to Istanbul to play professional basketball as a teen.
At 17, Freedom moved to the United States and initially joined Findlay and then Mountain State Academy, but neither school allowed him to play basketball.
Later, he attended Stoneridge Preparatory School in Simi Valley, California, where he played basketball for a season.
Kanter commenced his basketball career with the Fenerbahce Youth Squad from 2006 to 2009 under Sedar Apaydin, before moving to the United States.
With Fenerbahce, he played about nine games, four in the EuroLeague and five in the Turkish Super League.
After his move to the US, he played high school basketball for Stonebridge Preparatory School.
Freedom also recorded 34 points and 13 rebounds at the 2010 Nike Summit for the international team, which was a record for the event, breaking Dirk Nowitzki‘s record in the 1998 game.
He was rated as a five-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com.
Despite getting offers from UCLA, USC, Indiana, and UNLV, he verbally committed to play for the Washington Huskies on November 23, 2009.
However, on April 14, Kanter signed a National Letter of Intent to play college basketball for Kentucky.
The NCAA declared him permanently ineligible because he received approximately $33,000 from Fenerbahce in excess benefits.
The Utah Jazz drafted Enes Kanter as the third overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft and he signed a rookie scale contract with the Jazz in December 2011.
On December 27, he made his debut in a match against the Los Angeles Lakers, recording the most 11 rebounds.
In his rookie season with the Jazz, Kanter scored 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 66 games of the season.
On March 1, 2013, he recorded his career first 20-20 game with 23 points and 22 rebounds in a 98-68 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Subsequently, he scored a then-career-high 29 points in a 119-111 against New Orleans Pelicans.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Freedom was traded to Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team deal, including the Detroit Pistons, in February 2015.
Enes Kanter made his debut for the Thunder in a 110-103 win over the Charlotte Hornets and recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
He scored his then-career-high 30 points against Dallas Mavericks in April 2015. Later, Kanter became a restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season.
On July 9, 2015, the Portland Trail Blazers offered him a four years/$70 million deal. However, Thunder used their first refusal rights and matched the offer by the Blazers.
On April 6, he became the first Thunder to score 30 points and stack 20 rebounds in a game.
Consequently, Kanter got a fractured forearm playing against the Dallas Mavericks on January 26, 2017, and was ruled out for six to eight weeks.
After missing nine games, he made his return in a match against the Lakers on February 24, 2017, scoring four points on 2-for-12 shooting.
New York Knicks
In October 2018, he scored 17 points and 15 rebounds against the Celtics, making him the first New York Knicks since Zach Randolph to begin the season with three straight double-doubles.
Against the Milwaukee Bucks on February 6, 2018, Freedom recorded 19 points and 16 rebounds, claiming his sixth consecutive double-double. Similarly, he recorded his 32nd double-double of the season in a 111-87 loss to the Blazers.
Kanter’s then career-high 26 rebounds came in a 103-98 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on November 25, 2018.
Portland Trail Blazers And Boston Celtics
After his last game for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Enes Kanter signed a contract with Portland Trail Blazers on February 13, 2019.
He became the third player in franchise history to record 30 points and 18 rebounds in a playoff game after Bill Walton and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Freedom signed two years/$10 million deal with Boston Celtics as a free agent on July 1, 2019.
The professional basketball player was traded back to the Blazers in a three-team trade, including the Memphis Grizzlies, on November 20, 2020.
In April, he set a career-high and franchise record 30 rebounds and broke Sidney Wicks’ record of 27 (of 1975).
Enes Kanter signed a one-year/$2.7 million contract with the Celtics on August 13, 2021, but he was traded to the Houston Rockets along with Bennis Schroder and Bruno Fernando in exchange for Daniel Theis.
Freedom was freed by the Rockets, waiving him on February 14, 2022. Some believe that this move was because of his views about the Chinese government.
Enes Kanter debuted for the Turkish national basketball team at the 2008 FIBA Europe Under 16 Championship in Italy.
Featuring for the U18 team and averaging 18.6 points, and 16.4 rebounds, he won MVP honors, but had to settle for bronze at the 2009 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship.
Freedom made his debut for the senior national team at the 2011 EuroBasket, being the youngest player in the squad. He averaged 9.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in eight games appearance.
He stayed out of the roster for EuroBasket 2015 and reportedly his omission was due to his relationship with Fethullah Gulen and his support of the Gulen movement.
However, his coach, Ergin Ataman, it was because “he did not apologize to teammates for past incidents.
It was also believed that if he were to go to Turkey to play, he would either end up in jail or be killed by the national government.
Awards & Achievements
- Albert Schweitzer Tournament Most Talented Player (2008)
- FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship MVP (2009)
- WWE 24/7 Championship (2009)
- FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship Men’s Basketball (2009)- Bronze Medal
Works & Publications By Enes Kanter
- “They can Take Your Country, Just Like that”- The Players’ Tribune
- “When Ramadan and NBA Playoffs collide, my faith is my strength”- The Washington Post
- “Move the Olympics for Peng Shuai’s Sake”- The Wall Street Journal
Professional Involvement In Wrestling
Enes Freedom is a great fan of wrestling and had previously expressed his interest in pursuing a professional wrestling career.
Freedom made his special appearance at a WWE Monday Night Raw event at Madison Square Garden in September 2019.
Prior to the airing of that show, he defeated WWE 24/7 Champion R-Truth to win the title but would relinquish it to R-Truth moments later.
Enes dated professional wrestler Dana Brooke till December 2019. Later, in 2020, he started dating fashion designer and equestrian, Ariana Rockefeller.
Freedom is officially in a relationship with Australian model Emily Sears. Before their official announcement, the pair were spotted together on multiple occasions.
Emily initially gained popularity from the Carl’s Jr. advertising campaign but now is popular as the girlfriend of the professional basketball player and activist, Enes Freedom.
Regarding her career, the Australian model has appeared in several magazines like GQ USA, MAXIM, KANDY Magazine, FHM, RALPH, M, Transworld Motocross, and Zoo Weekly.
Besides, she is also seen endorsing different brands like Monster Energy, Strikeforce MMA, and others.
Sears is a supportive girlfriend and publicly shows her support for Freedom in both his games and his advocacy.
One of the prominent professional basketball players, Enes Kanter, has an estimated net worth of $55 million as of 2024.
The professional basketball player inked a 2-year/$8.8 rookie contract with the Celtics and exercised a $4.51 million option for the 2013-14 season on October 26, 2012.
His most significant contract was with the Celtics for 4-year/$70 million, after matching the deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2015.
Likewise, Kanter signed one year $2.64 million contract with Boston Celtics in 2021.
In his professional career so far, Freedom has garnered a total of $106,290,535.
Age, Height & Weight
Enes was born on May 20, 1992, which makes him 31 years old. His zodiac sign is Taurus.
Freedom stands at 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 meters) and weighs 113 kg (250 pounds).
He has an athletic physique with tall stature. His hair color is naturally black, and his eye color is dark brown.
The Real Activist
Enes Kanter Freedom is a professional basketball player who last played for the Celtics in the NBA.
He is brilliant on the court with mastery and opinionated with real courage to speak up the social or political matters off the court.
His off-court initiatives have accumulated him the most attention and now his advocacy for human rights has brought him more media attention.
Freedom is an outspoken antagonist of Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He criticized Erdogan in 2013 due to the corruption scandal in Turkey.
Kanter’s passport was rescinded in 2017, and he continued criticizing Erdogan, even inferring him as the “Hitler of our Century.”
The following year, his father, a professor in Turkey, was sentenced for terrorism and imprisoned; he was released after being jailed for five days.
In November 2021, Enes got his US citizenship and legally changed his name from Enes Kanter to Enes Kanter Freedom.
Freedom revealed his intentions of running for a seat in Congress in February 2023.
Enes Kanter Outspoken About China
In 2019, Kanter spoke about the genocide in Western China, where the Uyghur Muslim minorities were placed in concentration camps.
His activism aims to bring awareness and eradicate rights violations and injustice in China.
Later, Kantar accused Chinese President Xi Jinping of being a “brutal dictator” and uttered his support for the ‘Free Tibet’ movement on Twitter. Then, he also called for US athletes to boycott China.
Criticized The Lakers Star LeBron James
Freedom has also assaulted other NBA Players and Nike’s shoe brand, and criticized Lakers star, LeBron James.
Kanter passed a comment shading Lebron James, “Money over Morals for the King.”
He further added, “It’s sad and disgusting how these athletes pretend to stand up for social justice, but what they do is ‘shut up and dribble’ when big boss China says so.”
“Also, Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes, or is that not part of your research?” Kanter said to LeBron James when he was in China for NBA.
Social Media Presence
Enes Kanter is a famous personality on social media platforms. He keeps his fans updated about his advocacies, his television appearance, and some life updates.
He is available on Instagram under the handle @enesfreedom, Twitter @EnesFreedom, and Facebook @EnesKanterFreedom.
Instagram: 1.9m followers
Twitter: 638.6k followers
Facebook: 184.2k followers
Freedom has garnered fans worldwide from his professional basketball career and his works as an activist.
The above graph gives brief information about the popularity of Enes Freedom based on Google searches in the United States over a year.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What did Enes Kanter say about Michael Jordan?
The former center of the Boston Celtics, Enes Kanter, said the former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan hadn't done anything for the Black Community as he cares more about his shoe sales.
Is Enes Kanter a US citizen?
Enes Kanter is a Swiss-born and Turkey native, but he became a citizen of the United States in November 2021 and legally changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom in an oath ceremony.
Why is Enes Kanter's name Freedom?
Kanter added Freedom to his name, which reflects his fight for freedom throughout his life.