Whenever a team led by LeBron James takes on a team whose roster includes Enes Freedom (formerly Kanter), the dynamic between the two instantly becomes a subplot.
Such will be the case Tuesday night when James’ Lakers host the Celtics and Freedom.
MORE: Why did Enes Kanter change his name to Enes Freedom?
When the two teams met a few weeks ago in Boston, Freedom shared photos of a pair of sneakers that featured James’ resemblance. Freedom would wear the shoes in a win over the Lakers, but after the game, James refused to give Freedom his energy and said the big Celtics should talk to him face-to-face.
Where did this originate?
NBA League Pass: Sign Up to Unlock Live Off-Market Games (7-Day Free Trial)
Enes Freedom vs. LeBron James: Full Fight Story
As a member of the Cavaliers, James offered an opinion on then-Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr., who was selected ninth in the 2017 NBA Draft, one pick after the Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina. James would go so far as to say that Smith “should be a Knick,” a comment that prompted a response from Freedom.
We love what we have …
Thanks !!! https: //t.co/eI6nTpghmQ
– Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) November 12, 2017
James’ comments weren’t as random as it may sound given that he and the Cavs were ready to take on the Knicks that week. Since Knicks players understandably objected to what LeBron had to say, he tried to clear things up the morning of the game, saying he was “not shadowing Frank” but paying Smith a compliment.
He continued, adding that it was “a clarification for people who live in a box and for Enes Kanter, who always has something to say … I don’t know what’s wrong with him.” Fast forward a few hours and James, Freedom and Ntilikina were at the center of a dispute on the court.
After the Cavs scored a comeback victory, Freedom had more to say, referring to James and his teammates doing the bottle-flip challenge in a landslide victory at Madison Square Garden a season earlier.
“You’re not coming to my house playing that water bottle flip game again. I don’t care who you are, what’s your name? King, queen, princess? Whatever you are, you know what? To fight. And no one outside is going to punish us. “
James called Freedom’s comments “cheesy,” saying “I am the king, my wife is the queen, and my daughter is the princess, so we covered all three.” Just in case, James posted a photo on Instagram with the caption “You’re welcome … (King) of New York,” and called Madison Square Garden his favorite playground.
See this post on Instagram
Freedom responded to James’ post, saying that New York already had a king… Kristaps Porzingis.
Enes Kanter on LeBron James’ reference to the “King of New York” on Instagram: “We already have a king. It’s Kristaps Porzingis. “
– Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 14, 2017
When the two teams met in New York in April, James ignored questions about Freedom during target practice, but during the game, he wore a pair of Nike LeBron 15s that read “I’m King.”
LeBron James wore black sneakers that said “I AM KING” on the back. Once again he made the Garden his Kingdom as the #Knicks fell to #Cavs. | @Al_Iannazzone https://t.co/JW5KmgmdFt pic.twitter.com/wgmuQQWVAa
– Newsday Sports (@NewsdaySports) April 10, 2018
No less than a month later Kanter playfully challenges LeBron to prove he was the King of New York signing with the Knicks as a free agent on July 1.
Before the 2018-19 season, Freedom spoke about his self-proclaimed “trolling” of James, telling ESPN’s Royce Young, “I would do anything to distract him, distract him. People ask me, ‘Does it work?’ No, it doesn’t work. But I’m trying. “
How do we get here?
How did things get to where they are today? Apparently it started with James’ response to Daryl Morey’s comments on Hong Kong.
-I haven’t seen or talked to my family for 5 years.
-He jailed my dad
-My brothers can’t find a job
-Revoked my passport
-International arrest warrant
-My family cannot leave the country.
-I have death threats every day
-He was attacked, harassed
-I tried to kidnap myself in Indonesia.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
– Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) Oct 15, 2019
In January 2020, Freedom acknowledged to the Boston Globe that “I and [LeBron] have a beef, “before saying that James’s opening of I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, inspired him to open a charter school in Oklahoma City.
MORE: What did Freedom say about LeBron’s vaccination posture?
In October 2021, Freedom appeared on CNN, where he expressed his disappointment with James for not being a great advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine, sharing the clip of his appearance on Twitter.
– Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) October 3, 2021
Weeks later, Freedom sent a direct shot at Nike, mentioning its founder Phil Knight, James’ and Michael Jordan’s Jordan brand, and sharing a picture of custom Jordan sneakers with messages saying “modern slavery” and “hypocritical Nike.” among other things. .
To the owner of @Nike, Phil Knight
How about I book airline tickets for us?
and let’s fly to China together.
– Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) October 26, 2021
It was on November 18 that Freedom shared images of the sneakers that featured the image of James, including the message that said “Money over morale for the ‘King'”, to which James refused to give his energy.
MORE: James responds to Kanter’s latest criticism
Days after, Freedom would appear on Fox News to refute James’ claim of how things turned out at TD Garden, adding that he would be willing to have “a very awkward conversation” in an attempt to educate the Lakers superstar.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, Freedom said that receiving citizenship is “the best day of my life”, expressing appreciation saying that “people should feel really blessed and lucky to be in America because they love to criticize it, but when you live in a country like Turkey or China or somewhere else, you will appreciate the freedoms you have here. “
Freedom continued, adding that “I feel like they should keep their mouths shut and stop criticizing the greatest nation in the world.”
Before the second and final meeting with James and the Lakers, Freedom took to Twitter to call 10-year veteran and current CBA star Jeremy Lin, who was born in Torrance, California, to Taiwanese parents.
You should be ashamed @ JLin7
Haven’t you had enough money from that dirty Chinese Communist Party feeding you to stay silent?
How disgusting of him to turn his back on his country and its people.
Stop bowing down to money and dictatorship.
Moral brother on money
– Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) December 5, 2021
As he did in the tweet towards James, Freedom again mentions the balance between morals and money.
It’s unclear if James and Freedom will have that face-to-face conversation when the Lakers take on the Celtics, but history suggests something will come from this next meeting.