Enes Freedom, formerly known as Enes Kanter, was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Houston Rockets Thursday—in a trade involving four players. The Rockets then released Freedom that same day.
Freedom is not your average NBA player though. The European-born center, whose parents are Turkish, has been the rare professional athlete who’s been outspoken about human rights issues in China. Last month, he called the Chinese Communist Party a brutal dictatorship in a press conference hosted by Sen. Rick Scott. In November, he posted on Twitter about how the Chinese regime engages in forced organ harvesting, and that Tibetans, Uyghurs, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners are all targeted.
Freedom, who changed his name from Enes Kanter in November when he became an American citizen, has triggered plenty of China’s wrath. Celtics games were pulled from Chinese video-streaming giant Tencent back in October following another Twitter post calling for an end to Beijing’s ongoing repression in Tibet.