NBA commissioner Adam Silver has backed Enes Kanter’s decision not to travel to London for the New York Knicks’ date with the Washington Wizards.
Silver said security for all NBA players was one of his paramount concerns when he spoke ahead of Thursday night’s clash at the O2 Arena.
Kanter stayed at home while his Knicks team-mates travelled to London, citing concerns that he could be attacked or even killed over his opposition to controversial Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Istanbul-based newspaper Daily Sabah reported that an arrest warrant was issued for Kanter by Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday.
Silver said: “It was never a suggestion from the league that (Kanter) was not welcome on this trip.
“There are significant issues that he is dealing with, and I recognise that for the NBA, by virtue of the fact that we’re a global business, we have to pay a lot of attention to those issues as well.”
Kanter called Erdogan a “freaking lunatic” during the announcement he would not be travelling to London, having had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017.
He continued: “It’s pretty sad that all the stuff affects my career and basketball, because I want to be out there and help my team win.
“But just because of the one lunatic guy, one maniac, one dictator, I can’t even go out there and do my job. It’s pretty sad.
“They’ve got a lot of spies there. I think I can get killed there easy. It would be a very ugly situation.”