Enes Kanter 'Thinking About' Adding American Name When He Becomes US Citizen

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2019

Newly acquired Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter speaks during a news conference at the Celtics' basketball practice facility, Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is considering making a significant change once he finishes the process of becoming an American citizen.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, Kanter said he is considering altering his name once his citizenship is official: "I'm actually becoming a U.S. citizen in two years. I'm actually thinking about adding an American name. I'm still thinking about it. I don't know yet."

Kanter is a native of Turkey, but he is wanted in the country and viewed as a criminal due to his outspoken opinions against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kanter is a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, who Turkish leaders believe was behind a failed coup in the country in 2016, although it has never been proved.

Due to his ties to Gulen and criticism of Erdogan, Turkey has sought a four-year prison sentence for Kanter, which is why he has chosen to remain in the United States.

While playing for the New York Knicks last season, Kanter did not accompany the team on a trip to England out of fear that Turkish officials would have him assassinated.

In May 2017, Kanter's passport was canceled by the Turkish government, which resulted in him being detained at an airport in Romania. Kanter managed to make it back to the United States, but he has now taken steps to avoid similar situations.

The 27-year-old veteran signed with the Celtics during the offseason after splitting the 2018-19 campaign between the Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers.

With both Al Horford and Aron Baynes no longer in the fold for Boston, Kanter figures to play a major role for a Celtics team that could be among the best in the Eastern Conference next season.