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Blazers’ Enes Kanter teases new ‘American name,’ earning U.S. citizenship

Enes Kanter, Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter is hoping to become an American citizen.

The Turkish native revealed to Lindsey Wisniewski of NBC Sports Northwest he is hoping to earn his citizenship in June, even saying he might take on an American name:

“I’m even thinking about adding an American name,” Kanter said, via Wisniewski. “I think it’s an amazing honor to become a citizen here. I’m just like why not? Why not add an American name?”

Kanter’s contentious relationship with the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been well-documented over the years.

The 28-year-old has been a vocal critic of Erdogan’s, who in turn has threatened to arrest Kanter and even jailed his father, Mehmet, after linking his involvement to a failed coup attempt.

Kanter explained he stays in hotels, rather than buying a house or renting an apartment. He stressed that his living situation is safer for him:

“The threats are real and I’m still getting them every week,” Kanter said, via Wisniewski. “But I think America is doing an amazing job at protecting me because when I was with the Boston Celtics, most of the days I was going downstairs where I stayed and there was a police cop waiting for me. I asked our security team, what actually is this for? They are there for you if you ever need them.”

Kanter’s gratefulness for the support he has received appears to be a motivating factor in acquiring citizenship.

When it comes to basketball, Blazers fans are sure glad to have Kanter back in Portland. He is averaging 10.1 points and 9.3 rebounds on just under 20 minutes per game through his first 14 appearances.

Enes Kanter will play an even more vital role with Jusuf Nurkic out for the foreseeable future, and might eventually earn a new contract with Portland if he continues playing at this level. Perhaps his teammates will even get to use his new name this summer.