Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom said he changed his mind on COVID-19 vaccination after one of his teammates pulled him aside and asked why he didn’t support personal freedom after giving a speech encouraging everyone to get the jab.
“He basically like called me out. He’s like ‘listen, you just changed your last name. That is what you said on that interview is everything you’re against, everything you stand for.’ And I stopped for a second, I think I was like ‘you know what, you’re right.’ You know, people should obviously vaccine yes, you know, save lives … but people should have freedom to choose if they want to get a vaccine,” Freedom said on The Will Cain Podcast on Wednesday.
Freedom said he is vaccinated and recently tested positive for COVID-19 after getting his booster shot, but he doesn’t believe NBA players will support a booster shot mandate.
“Players will not do a [booster] mandate, I believe. Because players are going to stand up and say ‘this is against freedom,'” Freedom said. “I know some of my really close friends around the league, there’s no way you can make them do anything like that because that’s their body, that’s their choice. … I know some of the players like the one that I talked to, there’s no way you can make him do anything and that’s his body and you have to respect that.”
Freedom said his Celtics teammates “have my back no matter what” and support his outspokenness on China’s human rights abuses and forced vaccinations. Freedom said even players on other NBA teams have thanked him for speaking out.
“One of the teammates of LeBron [James] came up to me and said, ‘keep doing what you’re doing. What you’re doing is right. Don’t give up.’ I was very shocked,” Freedom said.