Enes Kanter of the Boston Celtics blasted NBA star LeBron James on Thursday, accusing James of hypocrisy over his calls for social justice in the U.S. while defending China.
Kanter has been an outspoken critic of China, as well as companies and players who have continued to keep close ties with or defend the Communist-controlled country over its record of human rights abuses.
James is an outspoken critic of the United States, often wading into hot cultural issues and claiming that black people continue to be victims of systemic oppression. James has been significantly more muted on China’s abuses, however, going as far as to critique then-Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey in 2018 over comments critical of 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. “So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”
Kanter issued a tweet Thursday afternoon mocking James, accusing him of picking “money over morals” by refusing to be tough against China.
“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 this month, Kanter challenged President Joe Biden to be tougher on China as it signals at taking over Taiwan on the heels of its takeover of Hong Kong.
“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?” Kanter tweeted in the leadup to Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Last month, Kanter went after Nike and James, as well as NBA legend Michael Jordan over their ties to China.
“Nike likes to say ‘Just Do It.’ Well, what are you doing about the slave labor that makes your shoes? That slave labor that makes you rich,” Kanter said in a video posted to social media. “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 labor 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.”