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Enes Kanter calls Joe Tsai ‘spineless ... puppet’ of Beijing in latest tweet on China

Portland Trail Blazers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by David L. Nemec/NBAE via Getty Images

Enes Kanter, the Celtics center who’s regularly attacked the Chinese Communist Party this season, took aim at Nets owner Joe Tsai in a tweet Wednesday calling the league’s only Chinese owner “spineless” and a “coward and puppet” of the country’s ruling party.

Kanter did not further detail his commentary. Tsai, of course, is executive vice-chairman of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant from which he derives much of his wealth. He’s noted the country’s achievements under CCP leadership that have ended poverty for hundreds of millions of Chinese.

The Nets did not respond to Kanter’s tweet.

The tweet was the latest in a series of Kanter attacks on the CCP, Nike and even LeBron James that have garnered him some notoriety in the last month. Among other things, he’s called Chinese president Xi JinPing a “brutal dictator,” wore “Free TIbet” footwear in games, and demanded China close down “the slave labor camps and free the Uyghur people,” the Muslim population in Xinjiang, China’s westernmost province. Most recently, he has called for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics which begins in February.

TenCent, which streams NBA games in China, pulled the Celtics from their TV schedule following Kanter’s initial comment on Xi. (TenCent also does not air 76ers games. Daryl Morey, the Sixers GM, angered Chinese authorities in October 2019 when as GM of the Rockets, he called for a free Hong Kong. Following that incident, Tsai penned an essay on Facebook, attempting to explain China’s position.)

Kanter has also attacked NIKE and James, among others, claiming they were more interested in “money over morals.” Neither has responded, with James saying only, “He’s definitely not someone I would give my energy to, He’s trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself.”

The Turkish center, who has also criticized his own country’s government, has said he feels alone among NBA players and other entertainers in his human rights campaign.

“There’s so many athletes, so many actors, so many singers and rappers out there. They’re scared to say a word because they care too much about their money – the endorsement deals, what the teams they play for say,” Kanter told FOX News earlier this week.

Kanter has been a popular voice on the nation’s cable channels since his first comments on Xi, appearing on FOX, CNN and MSNBC regularly. leading one pundit to note he’s been on the air more than on the court.

Kanter has played in seven of the Celtics games, averaging four points and five rebounds in 10 minutes per game.