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NBA player turned human rights activist to visit North Dakota

A 10-year veteran of the National Basketball Association, Enes Kanter Freedom recently gained notoriety, especially in conservative circles, for speaking out against perceived human rights violations in China and his home country of Turkey.

Enes Kanter hosts camp in Fargo.
Enes Kanter Freedom, then a member of the Portland Trailblazers, hosts a basketball camp in Fargo in 2019.
File photo

BISMARCK — Enes Kanter Freedom, a human rights activist and professional basketball player, is coming to Bismarck next week to host a youth basketball clinic and give a speech about his life.

Freedom will conduct a basketball clinic with local children on Monday, April 18. The following day, Freedom will meet with community leaders, speak to student-athletes at the University of Mary and deliver a speech about his life called "Freedom Isn’t Free."

A 10-year veteran of the National Basketball Association, Freedom recently gained notoriety, especially in conservative circles, for speaking out against authoritarian regimes including China and his home country of Turkey. In response to his harsh criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, authorities in the country have attempted to extradite the basketball player and hassled his family still living there.

After struggling on the court this season, Freedom was traded and then released in February by a pair of NBA teams that no longer wanted his services. Conservative politicians and pundits have echoed the 29-year-old's claims that the NBA is blackballing him for his political activism.

Freedom, who added the liberty-themed surname when he became a naturalized U.S. citizen last year, spent the last several months delivering speeches and giving media interviews around the world.

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The basketball player has visited North Dakota at least once before when he hosted a basketball camp in Fargo in 2019.

Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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