Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter likes to talk—a lot.
Ask Turkey, which revoked his passport back in 2017 over his outspoken political views (he once called its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “the Hitler of our century”), and even went as far as to not only accuse Kanter of being a member of a terrorist organization, but sought out an international arrest warrant in order to shut him up.
Ask China, which pulled Celtics games from its streaming service because Kanter won’t take his foot off President Xi Jinping’s neck.
Ask LeBron James, whose allegiance to Nike and its questionable labor practices made him a recent target of Kanter’s ire—as evidenced by not only the Switzerland native’s social media attacks, but the very sneakers Kanter decided to wear when he faced off against King James last week.
“I think if you know me you know I don’t really give too many people my energy and he’s definitely not someone I will give my energy to,” LeBron fired back after the Lakers lost to Boston. “Trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself. Definitely won’t comment too much on that.
“He’s always kind of had a word or two to say in my direction and as a man, if you got an issue with somebody, you really come up to him. He had his opportunity tonight. I seen him in the hallway, he walked right by me.”
So with Kanter’s reign of terror showing no signs of slowing down, on Sunday, the 11-year vet set his sights on his latest target: Michael Jordan. During an on-air chat with CNN’s Pamela Brown to share his thoughts on human rights issues and his feelings about Nike (“there is so much blood and sweat and oppression on those items, so please think twice before you buy any of their stuff”), Complex reports that the 29-year-old dragged His Airness into the discussion and aired out the clip.
“Not many people are talking about Michael Jordan,” he said. “Michael Jordan hasn’t done anything, nothing, for the Black community in America besides just, you know, giving them money. I feel like we need to call out these athletes. At least LeBron James is going out there and being the voice of all those people who are oppressed in America.”
Per Kanter, Jordan “has not done anything for the Black community because he cares too much about his shoe sales all over the world and America.”
While the Chicago Bulls legend will never be mistaken for Rev. Jesse Jackson—or social justice advocates like Muhammad Ali or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who’s also called out Jordan for not doing more to help his own)—in recent years, he has been far more outspoken in regards to issues befalling the Black community.
In 2016, he provided ESPN’s The Undefeated with a statement addressing growing racial and social unrest:
“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a Black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers,” Jordan wrote in a letter to The Undefeated. “I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”
And in the aftermath of the officer-related murder of George Floyd, the six-time NBA champion revealed that he was “deeply saddened, truly pained, and plain angry” by what transpired.
“I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough,” he said in a statement. “We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.”
Jordan’s charitable efforts in recent years have also made headlines, and include donating $2 million in proceeds from The Last Dance to “help feed America’s hungry,” partnering with fellow superstar Serena Williams for a million-dollar HBCU giveaway, helping to erase $27 million in court fees so that felons in Florida could vote in the 2020 Presidential Election, and a $2.5 million pledge in 2020 to legal defense organizations to protect the voting rights of Black Americans.
So while MJ might not be doing as much as Kanter or others would like, he’s definitely doing more than many of his own critics are—and more than most people probably even realize. And while it’s unclear what exactly Kanter’s end game is, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before his warpath makes another unnecessary enemy instead of forging alliances to aid his cause.