Enes Kanter won’t give up until he finds a way to intimidate LeBron James. Good luck with that.
Enes Kanter isn’t afraid of anyone. That much is clear. It could be LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and anyone on Twitter, or the Turkish government, who revoked his passport for being outspoken politically.
Kanter got peeved at LeBron after he said the New York Knicks should’ve drafted Dennis Smith Jr. over Frank Ntilikina, which was honestly more of a dig against then team president Phil Jackson, who called James’ business associates a “posse” in 2016.
Kanter wasn’t having any of that though. When the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Knicks later that week and things became physical between James and Ntilikina, Kanter stepped in to give his teammate a little bit of security support against LeBron. Kanter recalled the event in an interview via ESPN.
"“Most of our guys felt like it was disrespectful to Frank [Ntilikina] and we actually sat down with Frank and talked to him and said, ‘Hey you gotta step up for yourself, man.’Then I was in the game and they were pushing each other and I’m like, ‘This is a 19-year-old kid against a 260-pound dude. This is not fair.’ So I get in there and we were face-to-face and we trash-talked a little bit. After the game I called him ‘queen’ or ‘princess’ or whatever.But I would do anything to take his focus away, distract him. People ask me, ‘Does it work?’ No it does not work. But I’m trying.”"
Kanter deserves a lot of credit for attempting to shake LeBron’s confidence. Players like Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson have tried to do it before, and they have all failed. But you can tell from video of the incident that Kanter won’t back down from anybody.
The Knicks have their work cut out for them next year. This might be the make-or-break season for Kristaps Porzingis and Kanter to figure out how to play together, and it seems like the happiest basketball news to come out of New York this summer was the tiniest rumor that owner James Dolan might sell the team. That’s not a fantastic sign.
There is one thing that the fans in New York can count on though. Their Turkish big man is determined to get into LeBron’s head, and he’ll keep trying even if the failure continues.