Sometimes there are things that are more important than basketball.
That sentiment couldn’t be more true for New York Knicks center Enes Kanter. Following Friday’s 119-112 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Kanter revealed that he doesn’t plan to travel to London for the team’s game against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 17 because he fears for his life.
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“I talked to the front office and they said I’m not going because of that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan),” Kanter said. “There’s a chance that I can get killed out there. So that’s why I talked to the front office. I’m not going so I’m just going to stay here, just practice. It’s pretty sad because it affects my career, my basketball. Because I want to be out there but just because of that one lunatic guy, that one maniac, I can’t go out there and do my job. It’s pretty sad.”
Kanter has been very vocal in the past about Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and added that he fears that he could be killed by Turkish spies while in London. According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, the Knicks have confirmed that Kanter is having “visa issues,” and will not be traveling to London.
The Knicks center was very critical of Erdogan following a bombing in the Turkish capital of Ankara in 2016. Kanter has also received death threats for his political stance and is obviously concerned about his well being.
Kanter plans to stay behind and practice while the team travels to England. The Turkish big man also confirmed that the only country he can travel to is Canada because his passport was revoked by the Turkish government.