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Enes Kanter, even on 'Days Off,' is on top of his game

Kanter, who re-signed with the Boston Celtics during the offseason, opens up during a recent episode of Whistle's docu-series, "Days Off."

Entering his 11th NBA season, Enes Kanter is more than just a basketball player.

But did you know he also likes to write poetry?

Or that he’s a big fan of the Harry Potter series?

Kanter, who is returning to the Boston Celtics for a second stint of duty this year, opened up about all those things and more during a recent episode of Whistle’s ‘Days Off’ docu-series which profiles athletes and entertainers on their day off the court or field of play.

Celtics fans remember all too well during Kanter’s first stint with the Green team (2019-2020), how he would frequently go above and beyond the norm when it came to connecting with fans.

After signing a two-year deal with the Celtics in 2019, he proceeded to host 50 summer camps - yes, 50! - for youth throughout the country.

No surprise, he opens up about one of the many things he misses from the pre-pandemic days, was the time he spent getting to know young people.

And just like the world has had to evolve and adapt recently, Kanter has done the same with his now-vegan diet which he readily admits is still a work in progress.

“When I was growing up, I always thought eating more meat, it’s going to make you stronger, faster, leaner,” Kanter said. “And after doing a lot of research, you learn that cutting down meat, especially red meat, is going to make you leaner, stronger and you actually heal quicker.”

Kanter appeared in all 72 games last season for the Portland Trail Blazers, the first time he has gone an entire season without missing a game, since the 2015-2016 season.

And while he has proven himself to be a solid NBA player, the No. 3 pick in the 2011 NBA draft isn’t afraid to try different sports, too.

The 6-foot-10 center tried his hand at baseball and uh, let’s just say basketball is still his sport of choice and after seeing him try baseball you’ll understand why.

For many, the episode shows more than just another side of Kanter.

It highlights the many layers of who he is, from the fun-loving, beach volleyball player who likes to write poetry in Turkish, to the human rights activist who hasn’t seen his immediate family in nearly a decade because of his outspoken views on various human rights issues in his Turkish homeland.

But Kanter’s outspoken position on human rights isn’t just limited to the affairs of his childhood home.

Shortly after the George Floyd killing that sparked significantly increased conversations about race, law enforcement, and the complicated and at times contentious relationship between the two here in America, Kanter was among the athletes to do more than just say a few words on the matter.

Kanter was among the athletes to join protesters when the movement made its way to Boston in 2020.

“I want to thank you all for what you’re doing,” said Kanter at that time, surrounded by fellow protesters. “The second thing I want to say is we need change. And change cannot wait. I get emotional … we are on the right side of history.”

In the episode of ‘Days Off,’ Kanter talks about how he grew into being an outspoken human rights activist.

“Until my second year in the league, all I cared about was basketball,” Kanter said.

In his third NBA season, Kanter said there was a corruption scandal in Turkey and he tweeted about it.

From there, his voice and the platform to use it only grew.

It would ultimately result in him having to cut off communication with family members, in order to protect them from being harmed, he said.

While he admits it has not been easy to deal with not being able to communicate with family, his teammates and coaches through the years have done their part to make him at home.

Kanter talks about some of his most memorable teammates such as Steven Adams who he says is like a brother, in addition to Damian Lillard (teammate in Portland) and Russell Westbrook (teammate in Oklahoma City) being his favorites in part because of their leadership skills.

The good-guy vibes that Kanter sends out are great, but the Celtics re-signed him because of what he does on the basketball court. He’s coming off a season in Portland in which he shot a career-high 60.4 percent from the field and 60.7 percent from the free-throw line which was also a career-best for the veteran.

Kanter also averaged 11.2 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, which was just the third time in his career that he averaged a double-double.

But more than the numbers, the Celtics also add a talented player who understands even on Days Off, you can still have some fun and make an impact.

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