Enes Kanter denounced LeBron James' dealings with Nike and China in the Celtics' win over the Lakers with a special message on his shoe.
The center wore shoes during the game in which James bows to Chinese President Xi Jinping while the latter places a crown on his head. The phrases "I am informed and educated on the situation" and "Hey King still researching and getting educated" were written on the side of the shoe.
"Money is more important than morality for the 'King'," Kanter wrote on Twitter ahead of the game. "It's sad and disgusting how these athletes claim they care about social justice... But if Big Boss China wants it that way, 'shut up and dribble'. Have you read up on the slave labor required for your shoes is responsible, or isn't that part of your research?" he addressed his words directly to James.
"Shut up and dribble" is a reference to TV presenter Laura Ingraham's response to James' public criticism of then-President Donald Trump. The "research" alludes to LeBron's response to the corona vaccination. At that time he had stated that he had been vaccinated because he had done his research.
NBA: James does not comment on Kanter's criticism of Nike
After the game, James spoke about Kanter's criticism when asked. "Anyone who knows me knows that I don't waste my energy on too many people. And he's definitely not one of them," said the superstar. According to James, Kanter only used his name to create a platform for himself, which is why he didn't want to say "too much" about it.
"He's always had a lot to say to me. If he has a problem with me, I want him to come to me. He had the opportunity tonight. I saw him in the players' tunnel, but he walked right past me." , James explained.
James did not comment on Kanter's criticism of China and Nike.
NBA: Kanter is a well-known opponent of China
For the past year, several newspapers have published reports of Uyghur forced labor in Chinese factories, including a factory owned by shoe giant Nike, where James has a lifelong contract owns.
Nike shoes, including James' many signature shoes, are worn by most NBA players, Nike also makes most teams' jerseys and provides top stars with massive contracts.
Kanter, born in Zurich to Turkish parents, is a well-known opponent of the Chinese government and has often been the subject of public criticism. Just a few days ago, Kanter campaigned against the Hawks with a message on his shoe (Save Uyghur) for the oppressed minority in China. A Celtics game in China was canceled last month because Kanter wore the message "Free Tibet" on his shoes.
Shortly afterwards, he directly attacked the Chinese leadership with a video message that was published on social media. "Tibet belongs to the Tibetans, I am here to raise my voice and speak out against what is happening in Tibet under the brutal rule of the Chinese government," Kanter said.