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Enes Kanter says he lost Nike deal due to his issue with Turkish government

Enes Kanter

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter, who is of Turkish descent, has never been one to keep his political opinions to himself regarding his home country.

Doing so, however, has caused him some trouble. The Turkish government has said repeatedly that it wants to put him in jail and has even threatened Kanter’s family, who still lives in Turkey.

Not only have his opinions given him some trouble off the court, but they have also affected the revenue he could make that is related to his basketball career. Kanter is switching agents, in part because he thinks a new one can help him get overseas endorsements, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Kanter revealed Nike wouldn’t give him a shoe deal because it does business in Turkey and didn’t want to be compromised. Right now Kanter said he has no shoe deal.

“I hope so,’’ Kanter said of gaining more endorsements. “That’s why I’m signing with him. Maybe he’ll get me something. I make almost no money off the court because of the Turkish stuff. Most American companies are scared to give me any contract because what’s going on with Turkey. Maybe with a new agent I’ll get some Chinese, Philippines shoe deal.”

Players switch agents quite often. But this is a new reason for doing so. Kanter’s politics have actually messed with his ability to make money with endorsements, which is truly a hardship considering he is not a star player like LeBron James or Stephen Curry, whose popularity makes it easy for them to earn paychecks without actually playing basketball.

Hopefully, Kanter’s decision to change agents for this purpose works out. He’s a good player and seems like a good guy in general. He deserves all the same opportunities, regardless of his political views.