Enes Kanter suggests he’s not playing because of his anti-Chinese attacks, and maybe he’s right

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter has been playing a career low of 6.0 minutes per game this season, and he suggests it may have something to do with his strong stance against the Chinese government.

Kanter may be on to something. He has spoken out on social media about China’s massive human rights violations, and as a result, Chinese state television has taken the Celtics games off the air.

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Nov 10, 2021;  Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter (13) signs autographs before the game against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden.

Nov 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter (13) signs autographs before the game against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden.
(David Butler II-US TODAY Sports)

Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, Kanter has appeared in just three of the Celtics’ first 14 games.

Keep in mind that no professional sports league in history has benefited as much from China as the modern NBA. Like many US companies, the NBA completely ignores what’s happening in China, and will most likely continue to line its own pockets.

That’s why the NBA has yet to back Kanter and why many members of the NBA media – who work for companies with ties to China – have not asked the league to comment on Kanter’s China takes.

So it’s fair to say that the NBA holds the US to higher standards than China. For example, the league pulled the All-Star Game from Charlotte in 2017 because of a law that barred transgender people from using public restrooms based on their gender identity.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 22: Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics looks on earlier during the Celtics home opener against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden on October 22, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 22: Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics looks on earlier during the Celtics home opener against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden on October 22, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

But the Chinese government is completely against ‘transgender rights’, and yet the NBA’s relationship with the Chinese government is generally just tacky.

And frankly, that’s the least of China’s human rights violations.

Freshman Celtics coach Ime Udoka was a disappointment early on, as the team expected to be an Eastern Conference contender just floats aimlessly in the middle of the pack.

But Udoka said Kanter’s lack of playing time has nothing to do with his opposition to the NBA’s main moneymaker.

“My thing is strictly basketball. We switch a lot and do some things that probably don’t come naturally to him and that limits his time to a certain extent,” Udoka insisted. “Nothing basketball-related will be based on (social media).”

Udoka may be telling the truth. Maybe Kanter isn’t much of a basketball player. That’s a bit surprising, considering he’s six feet tall and played in all 72 games with the Portland Trail Blazers last season, averaging a double-double of 11.2 points and 11.0 rebounds.

And it was the Celtics who worked so hard to sign him in free agency this past season, and when they did, they celebrated wildly. But now he suddenly hardly sees the court anymore for ‘basketball reasons’.

Like most things when it comes to the NBA and China, what’s going on with the Celtics and Kanter seems really weird.

Oct 4, 2021;  Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter (13) reacts after guard Romeo Langford (9) made a three-pointer during the second half against the Orlando Magic at TD Garden.

Oct 4, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter (13) reacts after guard Romeo Langford (9) made a three-pointer during the second half against the Orlando Magic at TD Garden.
(Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

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