I had to go back and hit the NBA and LeBron James one more time today, sports fans. Target-rich environment, you know. Besides, this one was just too good to pass up.
Let's start at the beginning of the larger story.
Turkish-American Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter has been waging virtually a one-player protest, in a league of cowards and hypocrites, against the NBA, Nike, and pretty much all of sports media for continuing “business as usual” with China, as the ChiComs continue their brutal oppression of Uyghur Muslims.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 25, 2021
And then there's LeBron James.
The conflict between Kanter and James started a couple of years ago over China's crackdown on Hong Kong's democracy. Kanter has since taken shots at James over Chinese oppression, primarily regarding the Uyghurs, as the Boston Celtic has also grown more vocal over the hypocrisy of the NBA as a whole, including its coaches, players, advertisers, and media that cover the league and broadcast its games.
As my colleague Jennifer Oliver O'Connell reported in late October, Kanter tripled down on Nike, James, and Michael Jordan over the “modern-day slavery” in Tibet, home of some 1.8 million Uyghurs and other minority Muslims.
On Friday, prior to the game between Kanter's Celtics and James's Lakers, Kanter tweeted several images of his game shoes, on which were illustrated several shots at James, including an image of “The King” bowing before China's brutal dictator Xi Jinping, who proceeds to adorn him with his “rightful” crown. Behind James are bags of money, compliments of Xi and the ChiComs in Beijing. Blood money, if you will.
“Money over Morals for the ‘King',” reads one inscription.
“Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justices,” reads another.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham in June 2020, famously suggested James “shut up and dribble” and keep his mouth shut about all things politics.
And “Did you educate yourself about slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?” was a shot at James for once suggesting that he “did his research” on Hong Kong.
Ah, but the images…
Money over Morals for the “King” 👑
Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice
They really do “shut up & dribble” when Big Boss 🇨🇳 says so
Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research? pic.twitter.com/YUA8rGYeoZ
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 18, 2021
Can we get a close-up of the one on the top left?
Ooh, nice. Much better.
LeBron was unavailable for comment. pic.twitter.com/i5tOTa9prY
— Hold My Beer (@RealLibSmacker) November 20, 2021
Clay Travis, Fox News personality and Outkick founder, snapped a pic of Kanter's kicks at the game in Boston on Friday night.
Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter wore sneakers tonight — while playing against the Lakers — with LeBron James bowing down while China's dictator puts a crown on his head.
No word if “The King” autographed Kanter's shoe.
Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter wore sneakers tonight — while playing against the Lakers — with LeBron James bowing down while China’s dictator puts a crown on his head. pic.twitter.com/E1L4ZyPWrF
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 20, 2021
Friday night, after having virtually ignored Kanter's attacks, James responded:
“I don't give too many people my energy. He's definitely not someone I would give my energy to. He's trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself. I definitely won't comment too much on that.
“He's always had a word or two to say in my direction, and as a man, if you've got an issue with somebody, you really come up to him. He had his opportunity tonight. I saw him in the hallway, and he walked right by me.”
Translation: James totally ignored the substance of Kanter's criticism.
“Hey, he's definitely not someone worthy of my attention — I'm The King! He just wants to ride on my coattails, anyway.”
Really, LeBron? I'd say the courage displayed by Enes Kanter — that you and your equally-hypocritical league lack — has potentially cost him tens of millions of dollars in the “opportunity department,” pal.
But you just never mind, King — those bags of money aren't going to open themselves!