Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Enes Kanter motivated to make playoffs to stick it to Turkish President
Knicks center Enes Kanter isn’t worried about his indictment in his native Turkey.
“Four years? That’s it?” Kanter told reporters at Knicks practice ahead of Thursday’s Celtics-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. “For all of the trash I’ve been talking.”
The AP reported Turkey’s state-run news agency says prosecutors are seeking more than four years in prison for Kanter on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Anadolu Agency says an indictment prepared by the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office accuses the Knicks center of insulting the president in a series of tweets he posted in May and June 2016.
Kanter would be tried in absentia.
The Turkish government has issued a warrant for Kanter’s arrest, saying that Kanter is a member of a “terror group,” according to a pro-government Turkish newspaper.
Kanter, who grew up in Turkey, is a vocal supporter of Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric blamed by Turkey for last year’s failed military coup.
Kanter was detained in Romania on May 20 because his Turkish passport was canceled. He said he was able to return to the United States after American officials intervened.
Kanter said last month that the Turkish government won’t show Knicks games in his home country because of him.
He has been especially motivated to help the Knicks make the playoffs this season — playing through various injuries, including a neck injury suffered Saturday night against his old team, the Thunder.
Now it seems clearer that part of his motivation is to stick it to Erdogan.
“If we make playoffs, then that will drive him crazy,” Kanter said. “Just make the playoffs and drive the dude crazy.”
Entering Thursday’s game, the Knicks (16-14) are the No. 8 seed in the East and would play No. 1 Boston in the first round.
(The AP contributed reporting)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.