NBA

Celtics' Kanter thanks Trudeau for chance to play in Canada on Christmas

Boston Celtics centre Enes Kanter says he will be able to play in his team's Christmas Day game in Toronto against the Raptors after discussions with the Canadian government.

Turkish centre had passport revoked in 2017 for criticism of president

Boston Celtics centre Enes Kanter thanked numerous people, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 'for working diligently to make my Christmas game against the Raptors possible and ensuring my safety there.' (Michael Dwyer/The Associated Press)

Boston Celtics centre Enes Kanter said he will be able to play in his team's Christmas Day game in Toronto against the Raptors after discussions with the Canadian government.

In a column published Monday by The Globe and Mail, the native of Turkey thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government as well as other officials from Canada and the U.S. for getting him the green light to cross the border to play in the NBA's first Christmas game in Toronto.

Kanter, an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government for its treatment of residents, has not travelled outside the United States for years. Kanter has said his passport was revoked by the Turkish government in 2017.

The Globe's headline reads, "Thank you, Canada, for letting me play basketball — despite Turkey's threats against me."

The Celtics already were short-handed at centre with Vincent Poirier and Robert Williams nursing injuries.

Kanter, 27, is averaging 7.8 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Celtics this season.

"I want to thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, U.S. and Canadian law enforcement, U.S. Senator Ed Markey, the Celtics, the NBA and my managers for working diligently to make my Christmas game against the Raptors possible and ensuring my safety there," Kanter writes in the Globe.

"And, on Christmas night, I will play in my first game as a Celtic outside the U.S. when I take the court against the Raptors."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now