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NBA Star Enes Kanter Becomes American Citizen, Changes Last Name To ‘Freedom’

‘Today is probably the biggest day of my life,’ Freedom said. ‘To me, America gave me everything. America gave me home, gave me family.’

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NBA star Enes Kanter is now an American citizen and has legally changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom. 

The Boston Celtics center, who frequently speaks out against oppressive governments such as China and Turkey, passed his citizenship test and was sworn in as an official citizen of the United States on Nov. 29. 

With the swearing in, the 29-year-old moved Kanter to his middle name, with Freedom now his surname, which he said teammates already call him. His new last name will appear on the back of his jersey beginning this week.

“Today is probably the biggest day of my life,” Freedom said. “To me, America gave me everything. America gave me home, gave me family. My teammates became my brothers, like my real family. This means so much to me.”

In October, Celtics games were reportedly canceled after the basketball player called President Xi Jinping a “brutal dictator.” Freedom also frequently wears shoes calling out the oppressive Chinese government during NBA games. 

The anti-Lebron star most recently called on Lebron James and Nike to take a stand against the country’s human rights abuse and visit the country with him. He also took to social media to criticize the upcoming Olympics games in Beijing. 

Kanter has also criticized his origin country of Turkey, calling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the “Hitler of our generation.” After that statement, Kanter was labeled a terrorist in the country and his passport was revoked with a warrant out for his arrest.

“Here there is freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of the press,” he said of the United States. “I didn’t have any of those with Turkey.”

Now an American, Freedom finally has a home he’s proud to call his own.

“Dream came true,” Kanter said. “It’s been six years that I’ve been trying to become an American citizen. Finally, I can call somewhere home.”