There is a rather lengthy history of name changes in the sports world and, even more specifically, the NBA. There are those who make name changes for religious reasons, while others just want to make a statement or simply draw attention to themselves.
On Monday, the latest entry into the NBA name change list will arrive in the form of Enes Kanter Freedom, as the Celtics bench big will reportedly make that his official name once he becomes a United States citizen, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is legally changing his name to Enes Kanter Freedom, @TheAthletic @Stadium learned. Kanter will be his middle name, Freedom is his new last name. He becomes a U.S. citizen on Monday.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 28, 2021
Kanter has spent much of his career being an outspoken critic of various regimes around the world, most notably his home country of Turkey where he and his family have faced significant repercussions for his comments — gaining US citizenship is big for Kanter, who had his Turkish passport taken while traveling abroad once and was detained in Romania. More recently, Kanter has taken aim at Chinese leader Xi Jinping and those who have relationships with China, particularly LeBron James.
Freedom was also Kanter’s chosen addition to his jersey in the 2020 Bubble, so there are Celtics jerseys with Freedom name plates out there if they need one in a pinch. Kanter’s name change isn’t quite as dramatic as the Ron Artest to Metta World Peace change of years past, but that certainly provides a recent example for how this will be a story briefly and then just a normal thing.