Celtics Insist Enes Kanter’s Usage Not Due To China Controversy

'My thing is strictly basketball'


Nov 15, 2021

Well, the Boston Celtics finally said something to Enes Kanter about his recent activist campaign against the Chinese government.

All season the center has been vocal about human rights issues in the country, putting the NBA’s interests in a lucrative audience overseas in jeopardy.

To this point the Celtics have not limited Kanter from using his platform to speak about about the causes dear to him; not when he called out Nike, said the NBA empowered him to take a stand or wore any customized sneaker in between.

But a recent comment regarding Kanter’s playing time seemingly resulted in the team having a word with him.

“Keep limiting me on the court, I will expose you off the court,” Kanter wrote on Twitter with an accompanying video.

Was that a claim that the Celtics aren’t playing him because of this controversy, which caused Boston’s games to be blacked out in China?

Ime Udoka shut that idea down.

“I’ve talked to him and I saw it,” Udoka said, referring to Kanter’s recent social media posts.

“I’ve talked to Enes about him, the reasons he’s not playing as much and some of the things we’re doing defensively and areas for him to improve on. My thing is strictly basketball, you know? We’re switching a lot and doing some things that probably are not as natural for him,” Udoka said. “And that’s limited his time to some extent but at the same time, it’s not just a result of what he’s not doing, it’s other guys are doing it well. And we have, you know, Al and Robert who are kind of staggering there.”

Udoka has supported Kanter in using his free speech and says it isn’t a distraction, but since the messages started ramping up, the big man hasn’t played.

Kanter has appeared in two games averaging 5.0 minutes, 2.0 points and 2.0 rebounds after signing for the veteran’s minimum. No matter what anyone is saying, it makes you wonder how much he’s costing the team and league, because Boston certainly could have used him on the boards in some of these tight overtime games.

Thumbnail photo via Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports Images
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