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#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Chinese broadcaster pulls Celtics games after Enes Kanter comments

Enes Kanter

The NBA has once again found itself in trouble with the Chinese government, as it appears Boston Celtics games will not be broadcast in the country for the foreseeable future.

On Wednesday, Celtics center Enes Kanter shared a video on social media voicing his support for Tibetan independence. Chinese streaming giant Tencent immediately responded by cutting the live broadcast of Wednesday’s game between the Celtics and New York Knicks, according to the Washington Post. All upcoming NBA games are now marked for live broadcasts except for those involving the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, which are set for text-only coverage.

In his video, Kanter referred to Chinese president Xi Jinping a “brutal dictator.” He called for the nation to free Tibet, which came under Chinese rule in 1950. You can see the clip below:

Kanter also shared photos of custom “Free Tibet” sneakers he had made.

In addition to Tencent pulling Celtics games, several prominent Chinese social media accounts have called for a boycott of the Celtics.

Tencent already does not broadcast Sixers games because of what happened with Daryl Morey back in 2019. Morey, who was with the Houston Rockets at the time, openly supported people of Hong Kong who were protesting for freedom, which infuriated China’s communist government. China stopped airing NBA games altogether for a while, creating huge problems for the NBA. The ban was finally lifted for the NBA Finals, but China was so angry with Morey that they reportedly wanted him fired.

It’s unclear how the NBA will handle the latest ban, but Kanter is unlikely to back down. He has been very outspoken about politics in the past and had many issues with his native country of Turkey over it.


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