Conservative Former NBA Player Says He's Going to Run for Office: 'This Is Bigger Than Me'


Former NBA starting center Enes Kanter Freedom is exploring a run for Congress, he told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo Thursday.

The 30-year-old Turkish-born star appears to have been exiled from the league since he began speaking out about other players and their business ties to China.

On Thursday’s “Mornings with Maria,” the host asked the basketball star if he has political aspirations beyond calling out countries that abuse human rights and those who profit from it.

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“I actually do, yes,” he responded. “I would actually — when the time is right.”

As far as if he has begun building a campaign apparatus, Freedom said, “Not yet.”

“I haven’t started yet. But I started out conversations with some of my friends and members of Congress,” he said.

Freedom was also asked during the interview by former CIA officer Mike Baker if he regrets the fact that he might have given up a lengthy and profitable career in the NBA by choosing to focus on the influence of China on his sport.

Should Enes Kanter Freedom run for Congress?

“A lot of people actually ask me this question, ‘You’ve lost millions of dollars, you lost your career,’ and stuff,” he said.

“But people need to understand this is bigger than myself. This is bigger than me,” he added.

Freedom said conversations he has had with those whose lives have been affected by the cruelty of the Chinese Communist Party have put things into perspective for him.

“Whenever I sit down and have a conversation with those Tibetans, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese people — we call them Mongolians and Falun Gong — and whenever I hear what they’re going through, I was like, you know what? This is just bigger than basketball and I cannot just stay silent,” Freedom said.

In his not clear where the big man might run for office, should he choose to do so.

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He last appeared in an NBA game in 2022 as a member of the Boston Celtics. Freedom has been particularly critical of the face of the NBA — LeBron James, who he had called a “hypocrite,” among other things.

He was not impressed when James captured the NBA’s scoring record earlier this month.

Freedom does not reserve his criticism for China or James.

He has said there a $500,000 bounty on his head in relation to criticism of his native country’s leader, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

He became a U.S. citizen in 2021, which led him to begin using the name “Freedom.”

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.