NBA athlete Enes Kanter ripped into Lebron James for his hypocrisy over China’s treatment of Uyghurs, while simultaneously calling for social justice in the United States.
An outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party, Kanter has trained his sights on companies and players who have continued to support and maintain ties with the authoritarian regime despite its widely documented human rights abuses. As reported by Rebel News, Kanter has been critical of China’s “brutal dictator” Xi Jinping.
James, who is sponsored by Nike and enjoys the privileges of being a cultural icon in China, often criticizes the United States and weighs in on social issues like the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, and the police-involved shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant, who was killed by police while attempting to stab another teenager.
In the Bryant incident, James appeared to incite violence against the Ohio police office.
Despite complaining about systemic racism in the United States, James has remained muted on China’s human rights abuses, particularly its treatment of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, Uyghurs and Tibetans.
James even went out of his way to criticize then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in 2018 after Morey criticized China.
“I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke,” James said after Morey publicly backed freedom in Hong Kong,” said James at the time. “So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”
On Thursday, Kanter laid into James’ hypocrisy, accusing him of picking “money over morals,” by refusing to recognize China’s atrocities.
“Money over Morals for the ‘King’ Crown. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice,” Kanter said, referring to James. “They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss Flag of [China] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”
Earlier in November, Kanter challenged President Joe Biden to put the screws on China as it postures aggressively against Taiwan, a long-term U.S. ally.
He stated on Twitter: “President [Joe Biden] & Dictator Xi Jinping are scheduled to speak [President of the United States] Stop playing games with bullies & do what you promised to the world! Prioritize Human Rights! Will [Joe Biden] ask about Uyghur Genocide or assault on Tibetans & HK? Or will they pat each other on the back?”
In October, Kanter attacked both Nike and LeBron James, as well as NBA star Michael Jordan, over their silence on China.
“Nike likes to say ‘Just Do It.’ Well, what are you doing about the slave labour that makes your shoes? That slave labour that makes you rich,” Kanter said in a Twitter video.
“To the owner of Nike — Phil Knight — I have a message for you. How about I book plane tickets for us, let’s fly to China together. We can try to visit these slave labour camps and you can see with your own eyes. LeBron James and Michael Jordan, you guys are welcome to come too. Nike must be a participant in this. Stop the hypocrisy. Stop the modern-day slavery now.”