New York Knicks center Enes Kanter feels like he’s found a home in New York and wants to finish his career—and retire—a Knick.
— ESPN New York (@ESPNNewYork) January 19, 2018
Kanter’s parents still live in Turkey, but he hasn’t spoken with them in over a year. The center is a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, who is an opponent of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gulen was accused of orchestrating a failed coup attempt in 2016 against Erdogan, who has jailed thousands of people for plotting the failed coup, according to Mike Vorkunov of the New York Times.
Last May, Kanter was detained at an airport in Romania after the Turkish government canceled his passport. His home country’s government wanted to put the Knicks center in jail for more than four years for insulting Erdogan on Twitter. He eventually was able to come to the US, but his father has disowned him.
In an interview with Ian Begley of ESPN, Kanter said that he hopes that his parents can come to the US and that he wants to go back to Turkey.
“That’s my home,” he said. “I love Turkey. I love my people. I love Turkish food and everything. But my problem is with the government. I don’t have any problem with my country, I don’t have any problem with my flag or I don’t have any problem with my people. My problem is what’s going on, the regime in Turkey right now. So when it’s over I will definitely want to go back because it’s my home.”
Kanter then said that he wants to retire in New York because he has realized that playing in New York is cool and he doesn’t want to go anywhere else.
“I remember maybe it was my second month here. I was thinking, “This place is so cool, I want to retire here.” I remember one of the media guys was asking me, “Is it too early to decide because you’ve been here for not even a half season? Why did you want to decide that you wanted to retire as a Knick?” I was like, “This is the place I want to be.” You play at Madison Square Garden, you see all the famous people. I’m really cool with Ben Stiller,” he said.
Another reason Kanter wants to retire as a Knick is that he is close with his teammates, coaches, and the front office. He is averaging 13.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks this season. Now if his parents come to the US, then New York would truly be his home.