‘Just keep trolling:’ Enes Kanter has no plans on backing down

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It’s been almost a year since Enes Kanter stood in this tiny gym in this tiny town in Oklahoma. It’s the kind of gym with a beige plastic tile floor and hand-printed inspirational quotes on the walls.

It’s also the heart of a 160-acre property in Guthrie called Peppers Ranch, a foster-home community initially founded to aid abused and neglected young boys.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Kanter is back at the gym at Peppers Ranch on a promise. He was here on Sept. 23, 2017, when he got the call he’d been traded to the New York Knicks in a deal for Carmelo Anthony. Kanter had to leave abruptly — not before he gathered the kids around for a “1-2-3, Knicks!” chant — but made the promise he’d come back.5

It’s how the summer goes for Kanter, bouncing around towns — He was in Des Moines doing a camp, Houston, St. Louis — mixing in offseason workouts with outreach. Maybe it’s continental cabin fever, trapped inside the United States without a valid passport to travel to popular vacation spots like Cancun or back home to Turkey, where he’s wanted as an alleged terrorist.

Kanter is a follower of Fethullah Gulen, an exiled cleric who was blamed for a failed coup attempt in 2016. Kanter’s father, Mehmet, has been arrested twice and in June was indicted after being charged by the Turkish government with “membership in a terror group.”

Kanter has a lot of beefs in the NBA — mostly just for fun — but a very real one with the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, someone he’s called “the Hitler of our century.”

Kanter isn’t shy about politics, and isn’t afraid to label the 2016 coup attempt as fake. He sees Erdogan as a dictator who’s persecuting his people and, at the risk of his family’s well-being and his own life, he’s not going to be quiet about it.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

But then again, that’s kind of how Kanter is about everything.

Before he took off in a car for Poteau, he sat down with ESPN.com over breakfast and shared his thoughts on LeBron James, the Golden State Warriors, why he likes to troll and why he’s not backing down from his stance on Turkey.