Ex-NBA star has ‘£400k bounty slapped on him’ and plans to sue basketball league

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    Former NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom is reportedly a wanted man in Turkey, having allegedly been named on the country's most-wanted terrorists list with a bounty of 10 million Turkish Lira, or around £400,000, reported to be on his head.

    The 30-year-old has been outspoken against Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government's human right's violations. Back in 2017, he called Erdogan a "terrible man" and the "Hitler of our century".

    Speaking to the New York Post about the bounty, Freedom – who was raised in Turkey before moving to the US – said: "That makes it so dangerous. Before the bounty, Turkish intelligence were after the people on the list, but now everyone is after them because they want the money.

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    "Because of my platform, whenever I say something, it goes everywhere and the Turkish government hates that. They're really sick of it, and they said 'enough is enough' and are doing whatever they can to shut me up."

    He added that as a result of the bounty he is now "being protected 24/7" and also said he is "waiting for the right time" to sue the NBA, claiming they have "blackballed" him from the league because of his public criticism of China.

    An ESPN report stated that the NBA's 40 principal owners collectively have around $10 billion (£8 million) invested in China and Freedom claims his criticism of the nation's treatment of Uighur Muslims led to him getting waived by the Houston Rockets last year after being traded from the Boston Celtics.

    "The NBA is never going to admit it, but I believe I'm being blackballed," he added. "I've had many conversations and everyone is saying the same thing: 'Your career has ended because of your China comments.'

    "They are a 100% American made organization, but they are being controlled and run by the biggest dictatorship in the world, China. How can China fire an American citizen from an American organization? That is unacceptable."

    However, the NBA has denied blackballing him, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver telling the New York Times last year: "We spoke directly about his activities this season and I made it absolutely clear to him that it was completely within his right to speak out on issues that he was passionate about."

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