What kind of reaction have you been getting from Turkish friends and family? Enes Kanter: My friends and my friends’ families are in jail right now in Turkey. They want to do something, but if they talk about it, only two or three people are going to hear about it. That’s why [I use my platform to talk about it]. People, even my teammates, were saying, “Why are you doing this? Are you crazy? Why are you talking about all of this politics and stuff if your family is back in Turkey?” People don’t understand that, I understand they’re my family, but there are thousands of families in Turkey right now wrongly in jail. … When I talk to my teammates and I talk them one-on-one and say, “OK, this is what’s going on in Turkey. This is the reason I’m talking. This is the reason I’m speaking publicly on social media,” or whatever. And they say, “You’re right. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
Why do you think your father had to publicly state that he disowned you? Enes Kanter: Before that, my dad got fired from his job. He was a genetics professor. My dad’s siblings got fired. People were saying some crazy stuff to him on the streets. My little brother was telling me that when he went to the supermarket, they spit in his face. They said, “What kind of son do you have? … So if they didn’t make that statement, not just my dad by my whole family would be in jail.
David Pick: Source: Former Mavs guard Gian Clavell has signed with Turkish BSL side Sakarya Buyuksehir for the rest of the season.
Enes Kanter believes he’s on a Knicks team that should challenge for a spot in the NBA playoffs, but says folks in his native Turkey — a nation of almost 80 million — are unable to watch his games because he’s been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Yeah, I got a lot of friends and family [who] cannot watch my games,” Kanter told SNY.tv on Thursday after practice. “They don’t even show no New York Knicks games in Turkey because of me. Last year they didn’t show no OKC games. This year no New York games just because of me. And they ban my Twitter in Turkey, too.” One league source said it’s “obvious” the Turkish government is “avoiding showing Kanter’s games,” but that basketball fans in Turkey with NBA League Pass can “watch whatever games they want.” A spokesman at the Turkish consulate told SNY.tv by phone, “I cannot know if these channels are also blocking Enes Kanter’s games or not, so I cannot know it.”