The NBA’s Western Conference finals will not be televised in Turkey because it will include the Portland Trail Blazers’ Enes Kanter, who hails from the country, Reuters reported.
The Trail Blazers will meet the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals. Game 1 is set for Tuesday night (Wednesday morning) in Oakland, Calif.
Kanter has been an outspoken critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and has been accused in his home country of having terrorist links, which Kanter has denied.
Commentators for Turkey’s S Sport confirmed the series will not be televised.
The NBA playoffs have been televised in Turkey since broadcasts became available in the 1990s. The NBA Finals also will not be televised in Turkey if the Trail Blazers are involved.
Kanter has been estranged from Turkey since his passport was canceled in 2017 and sought his arrest.
Meanwhile, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking him to guarantee the Kanter’s safety should the Trail Blazers meet the Raptors in the NBA Finals.
“I ask your government to facilitate Mr. Kanter’s safe passage to and from Canada should the Portland Trail Blazers play the Toronto Raptors in Toronto, Canada, in the upcoming NBA Finals,” the letter read. “I also urge your government to state publicly that it will not comply with any Interpol red notice meant to interfere with Mr. Kanter’s livelihood and to intimidate him and his family back in Turkey.”
Wyden has been a supporter of Kanter since he joined the Blazers in February, after the New York Knicks bought out his contract.
“I have full confidence to myself and my team to win the Western Conference finals,” Kanter said to ESPN, via text message. “Going to Toronto will be a bit hectic for me for the reasons you know, and I know Senator Wyden is working hard to make sure that I can make it and I really appreciate it.
“On the other side, I know the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau is a good leader and I have confidence in him to help with my situation. I know this because he’s already helping many more Turkish citizens, in the Hizmet movement, who are oppressed by the Dictator Erdogan regime right now.”
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