Enes Kanter (Turkish: [eˈnes kanˈtæɾ]; born May 20, 1992) is a Swiss-born Turkish professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected with the third overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz.
Kanter with the Knicks in March 2018
|No. 00 – Portland Trail Blazers|
|Born||May 20, 1992|
|Listed height||6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)|
|Listed weight||250 lb (113 kg)|
|High school||Stoneridge Preparatory School|
(Simi Valley, California)
|NBA draft||2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall|
|Selected by the Utah Jazz|
|2015–2017||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2017–2019||New York Knicks|
|2019–present||Portland Trail Blazers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Before moving to the United States, Kanter played under Serdar Apaydın's management for the Fenerbahçe youth squad between 2006 and 2008 and then, during the 2008–09 season, Kanter was a seldom-used reserve for the Fenerbahçe senior team. He played in at least nine games with the team – four in the EuroLeague and five in the Turkish Super League. Fenerbahçe and the Greek League basketball team Olympiacos both offered Kanter professional contracts, but he declined because he wanted to play high school and college basketball in the United States.
In 2009, Kanter moved to the United States, where he enrolled at Stoneridge Preparatory School in Simi Valley, California, and played for the basketball team in 2009–10. At the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit, Kanter played for the international team, recording 34 points and 13 rebounds. His point total was a record for the event, breaking Dirk Nowitzki's record set in the 1998 game. Both Rivals.com and Scout.com rated Kanter as a five-star prospect, the highest possible rating.
On November 23, 2009, Kanter verbally committed to play for the Washington Huskies. Kanter chose Washington over UCLA, USC, Indiana and UNLV. However, he re-opened his recruitment in February 2010, and on April 14, Kanter signed a National Letter of Intent to play college basketball for Kentucky.
However, despite signing with the Kentucky Wildcats, the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible as a collegiate athlete because he received approximately $33,000 from Fenerbahçe in excess benefits. The NCAA ruled that this amount was above and beyond what was considered acceptable. On January 7, 2011, the NCAA rejected Kentucky's appeal, upholding that Kanter was permanently ineligible. Without Kanter, Kentucky still managed to reach the Final Four in the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
Utah Jazz (2011–2015)
Kanter was drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2011 NBA draft. Upon being drafted, he said "I'm so happy, I'm so excited. I know the Utah Jazz fans are crazy and I love them. I will bring the team toughness and post moves, rebounding, everything. I will try to do everything to make the playoffs." On December 9, 2011, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Jazz following the conclusion of the NBA lockout. In 2011–12, he became just the 10th Jazz rookie in franchise history to appear in every regular season game. He also recorded the most rebounds for a Jazz rookie on debut with 11 against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 27. On the season, he averaged 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 66 games.
In 2012–13, Kanter improved his averages in every major statistical category, led the team in scoring three times and rebounding four times, and scored in double-figures 22 times. In 70 games (two starts), he averaged 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. On March 1, 2013, Kanter had the first 20-20 game of his career with career-highs of 23 points and 22 rebounds to lead the Jazz to a 98–68 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. He later missed the final 10 games of the season due to a dislocated left shoulder.
In 2013–14, Kanter appeared in 80 games (37 starts), averaging 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. On March 3, 2014, he scored a then career-high 27 points in a 114–88 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Oklahoma City Thunder (2015–2017)
On February 19, 2015, Kanter was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team deal that also involved the Detroit Pistons. Two days later, he made his debut for the Thunder, recording a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds in a 110–103 win over the Charlotte Hornets. On April 1, 2015, he scored a then career-high 30 points in a 135–131 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
After the 2014–15 season, Kanter became a restricted free agent. On July 9, 2015, he received a four-year, $70 million offer sheet from the Portland Trail Blazers. However, three days later, the Thunder exercised their right of first refusal and matched the offer sheet extended to Kanter by the Trail Blazers. On March 14, 2016, he scored a then season-high 26 points in a 128–94 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. On April 6, he recorded a career-high 33 points and 20 rebounds in a 120–115 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, becoming the first player in Thunder history to score at least 30 points and grab 20 rebounds in a game. In Game 3 of the Thunder's first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, Kanter recorded a playoff career-high 21 points and a game-high eight rebounds in a 131–102 win, claiming a 2–1 series lead. In Game 4 of the series, Kanter helped the Thunder go up 3–1 with 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting, setting a playoff career high for the second straight game.
On November 28, 2016, Kanter recorded a season-high 27 points and 10 rebounds in a 112–103 win over the New York Knicks. On January 26, 2017, he sustained a fractured forearm after punching a chair on the Thunder's bench during their game against the Dallas Mavericks. He was subsequently ruled out for six to eight weeks. He returned to action on February 24, 2017 against the Los Angeles Lakers after missing nine games. He finished with four points on 2-for-12 shooting.
New York Knicks (2017–2019)
On September 25, 2017, Kanter was traded, along with Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick, to the New York Knicks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony. In his debut for the Knicks in their season opener on October 19, 2017, Kanter had 10 points and seven rebounds in a 105–84 loss to his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Five days later, he recorded 16 points and 19 rebounds in a 110–89 loss to the Boston Celtics. On November 29, 2017, after missing three games with back spasms, Kanter had 22 points and 14 rebounds in a 115–86 win over the Miami Heat. On December 25, 2017, he had a season-high 31 points and tied a career best with 22 rebounds in a 105–98 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He joined Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Bob Lanier as the only players with a 30-20 game on Christmas. On January 30, 2018, he recorded 20 points, 20 rebounds and five assists in a 111–95 win over the Brooklyn Nets. On February 6, 2018, in a 103–89 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Kanter recorded 19 points and 16 rebounds for his sixth consecutive double-double, marking the longest streak by any Knick since David Lee had seven straight from February 9–26, 2010. On March 6, 2018, he had 18 points and 11 rebounds in a 111–87 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. It was Kanter's 32nd double-double of the season, a career high.
On October 19, 2018, Kanter scored 29 points in a 107–105 loss to the Nets. A day later, he recorded 17 points and 15 rebounds in a 103–101 loss to the Celtics, becoming the first Knick since Zach Randolph (2007–08) to start the season with three straight double-doubles. On November 5, he recorded 23 points and 24 rebounds in a 116–115 double-overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls. On November 11, he notched his fifth straight double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds in a 115–89 loss to the Orlando Magic. On November 25, recorded 21 points and a career-high 26 rebounds in a 103–98 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. In late December, Kanter was demoted to a reduced role off the bench. Kanter was waived by the Knicks on February 7, 2019.
Portland Trail Blazers (2019–present)
On February 13, 2019, Kanter signed with the Portland Trail Blazers. He made his debut for the Trail Blazers on February 21, recording 18 points and nine rebounds off the bench in a 113–99 win over the Brooklyn Nets. In game one of the Trail Blazers' first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kanter had 20 points and a career playoff-high 18 rebounds in a 104–99 win, becoming just the third player in team history with at least 20 points and 18 rebounds in playoff game—Bill Walton did it three times and LaMarcus Aldridge once.
National team career
Kanter made his debut for the Turkish national basketball team at the 2008 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship in Italy. He dominated throughout the tournament, averaging 22.9 points, 16.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 34.6 minutes per game. However, Jonas Valančiūnas was chosen as the MVP after he averaged 14.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 23.5 minutes. Kanter went on to earn MVP honors at the 2009 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship after averaging 18.6 points and 16.4 rebounds while leading Turkey's junior national team to the bronze medal. He declined to play for the senior national team at the 2010 FIBA World Championship which was being held in Turkey as the team went on to win the silver medal. His father claimed he did this in order not to miss the first month of classes at Kentucky.
Kanter played with the Turkish senior team for the first time at the 2011 EuroBasket. He appeared in eight games and averaged 9.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Kanter was left off the team's roster for EuroBasket 2015. Kanter alleged that the omission was due to his relationship with Fethullah Gülen and his support of the Gülen movement while coach Ergin Ataman said that Kanter was excluded because "he did not apologize to teammates for past incidents."
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||PIR||Performance Index Rating|
Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season. He also played in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.
Kanter was born in Switzerland to Turkish parents who later returned to their homeland.
Kanter's younger brother, Kerem, played for the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay from 2014 to 2017. After graduating from UW–Green Bay in 2017, he transferred to Xavier University under the NCAA's graduate transfer rule.
Kanter received some college-preperatory education at Hizmet-affiliated schools internationally and had reconnected with participants of this self-described association based on moral principles upon Kanter's arrival in the United States, initiating a close personal relationship with the movement's founder, the Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, as Kanter's spiritual advisor (both men soon to be persona non grata in their Turkish homeland).
After the failed 2016 coup d'état attempt, Kanter heavily criticised Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Twitter, calling him the "Hitler of our century". Soon after the coup attempt in July, his father and his family publicly disowned him due to his political views and his support for Gülen, imploring him to change his surname, on August 8. Kanter stated that he loves Gülen "more than his family", informally changing his name to Enes Gülen. His father was dismissed from his university position a few weeks later, via government decree numbered 272 on September 1, as part of 2016–17 Turkish purges.
On May 20, 2017, Kanter's passport was cancelled by the Turkish embassy. He was temporarily stranded in Romania, but eventually flew to London. Six days after the cancellation of his passport, the Turkish government issued an arrest warrant for Kanter, accusing him of being a member of a "terror group". Turkey said that charged citizens who fail to come to Turkey during September 2017 face revocation of citizenship; in September 2017, Kanter described himself as stateless. According to Sports Illustrated, "Although Kanter might dismiss the Turkish arrest warrant as toothless, he faces the more impactful problem of being a man without a country." It was reported on December 20, 2017, that Turkish prosecutors were seeking more than four years in prison for Kanter, who would be tried in absentia. In January 2019, he decided against travelling to London with the Knicks, fearing that his life could be in danger if he travelled to Europe. Kanter did not travel to Toronto with the Portland Trail Blazers in March 2019 for the same reason. According to a 2019 ESPN story, FBI agents have issued him a communications device that allows him to contact the organization at a moment's notice due to credible threats against his life.
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- Thamel, Pete (September 7, 2010). "Turkish Team Says It Paid a Top Kentucky Recruit". Retrieved May 22, 2017 – via NYTimes.com.
- Enes Kanter hakkında bilgilendirme (in Turkish)
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- "Enes Kanter's eligibility". Archived from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
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- "Westbrook with another triple-double as Thunder stop Knicks". ESPN.com. November 28, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
- Wojnarowski, Adrian (January 26, 2017). "Sources: Enes Kanter out 6-to-8 weeks with fractured forearm". Yahoo.com. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- "Westbrook's triple-double leads Thunder past Lakers, 110-93". ESPN.com. February 24, 2017. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
- "Knicks Trade Carmelo Anthony To Oklahoma City". NBA.com. September 25, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
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- "Tatum, Brown lead rested Celtics past Knicks 110-89". ESPN.com. October 24, 2017. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
- "Kanter leads Knicks to easy win despite Porzingis injury". ESPN.com. November 29, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
- "Embiid, Redick help 76ers beat Knicks, end 5-game skid". ESPN.com. December 25, 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
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- "Ross, Vucevic lift Magic over Knicks 115-89". ESPN.com. November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
- "Enes Kanter has 26, Knicks top Grizzlies 103-98". ESPN.com. November 25, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
- "Gobert leads Jazz past Knicks 129-97". ESPN.com. December 29, 2018. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
Enes Kanter came off the bench for the second straight game and isn't pleased about his suddenly reduced role with the Knicks.
- Berman, Marc (January 2, 2019). "Where Enes Kanter stands after heart-to-heart with Knicks GM". NYPost.com. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- "Source: Knicks to cut Kanter, expiring contract". ESPN.com. February 7, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Knicks waive Wesley Matthews, Enes Kanter". NBA.com. February 7, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Trail Blazers Sign Center Enes Kanter". NBA.com. February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Center duo of Nurkic, Kanter leads Blazers over Nets, 113-99". ESPN.com. February 21, 2019. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
- "Portland wins Game 1 against the Thunder 104-99". ESPN.com. April 14, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
- "Enes Kanter's father says Turkish club is 'trying to make an example' of his son". Archived from the original on October 19, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Enes Kanter (Turkey)". Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Controversy looms as Gülen follower Enes Kanter left out of national team". Hürriyet Daily News. June 24, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Kersey, Jason (March 16, 2016). "NCAA Tournament: Green Bay's Kerem Kanter excited to play on older brother's home floor". NewsOK. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- Brennan, Patrick (May 22, 2017). "Kanter pulling out of NBA Draft, will play at Xavier". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
- Kanter, Enes (May 9, 2019). "Enes Kanter: When Ramadan and the NBA playoffs collide, my faith is my strength". Washington Post.
- Bonesteel, Matt. "Turkey wants to imprison Knicks' Enes Kanter for more than four years over presidential insults". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
- Conn, Jordan Ritter (October 11, 2018). "Enes Kanter Contains Multitudes". The Ringer.
- "Kanter, Turkoglu trade barbs on Turkish politics". ESPN.com. March 9, 2019.
- "Enes Kanter calls Turkey's Erdoğan 'Hitler of our century' after airport detainment". The Guardian. May 22, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
- "Enes Kanter Changed His Twitter Handle to Include "Gulen" After Family Reportedly Disowned Him for Political Views". August 8, 2016. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "İhraç edilen akademisyenlerin tam listesi". NTV. September 4, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
- "Enes Kanter'in babası da ihraç edildi". BirGün. October 30, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
- "Enes Kanter'e büyük şok! İhraç edildi..." Vatan. October 30, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
- "Kanter detained in Romania, passport revoked". ESPN. May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- Marcin, Tim (May 20, 2017). "Enes Kanter Held In Romania: Turkish NBA Star Says Anti-Erdogan Views Got Passport Revoked". Newsweek. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- Hoffman, Benjamin (May 20, 2017). "N.B.A. Player Enes Kanter Released After Being Held in Romania". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- Young, Royce (May 26, 2017). "Turkish govt. issues warrant for Kanter's arrest". ESPN. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- Young, Royce (May 26, 2017). "Turkish government issues arrest warrant for Enes Kanter, pro-government newspaper reports". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- Bieler, Des. "Enes Kanter says he has been getting death threats and wants American citizenship". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
- Michael McCann (May 27, 2017). "Examining Enes Kanter's Future Following Turkey's Arrest Warrant". Sports Illustrated.
- "Turkey seeks jail term for NBA player for insulting Erdogan". apnews.com. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- "Enes Kanter scoffs at possibility of Turkish prison". nypost.com. December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Iqbal, Nomia (January 6, 2019). "Enes Kanter: 'I don't feel safe in the UK'". bbc.com. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
- Whiteside, Kelly (January 9, 2019). "An N.B.A. Star Takes On Erdogan". nytimes.com. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
- "Leonard hits winner, Raptors beat Trail Blazers 119-117". ESPN.com. March 1, 2019. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
Portland center Enes Kanter did not travel to Toronto with the team.
- "Kanter draws support of union after drawing jeers". ESPN.com. May 2, 2019. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
- Keown, Tim (May 20, 2019). "Kanter: 'After I leave the court, the fight begins'". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 20, 2019.