By Ryan Gaydos
Published May 15, 2019
Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter is by far Turkey’s best basketball player in the NBA. But even though he is playing in the Western Conference Finals, one TV station will not be airing his games.
S Sport, the main TV broadcaster of the NBA in Turkey, will not be showing the Western Conference Finals between the Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors because of Kanter’s criticism of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and support for exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
“I can say clearly that we will not be broadcasting the Warriors-Blazers series,” S Sport commentator Omer Sarac told Reuters. “Furthermore, if Portland makes it to the Finals, [that] will not be broadcast either.”
The NBA didn’t immediately comment on the decision not to air the series. Turkish fans could still watch the conference finals on NBA League Pass and NBA TV International.
Earlier this month, the NBA had to scrap ties with a vendor who ran the league’s Turkish Twitter account for failing to mention Kanter’s performance in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets.
Turkish authorities asked Interpol in January to issue a “red notice” warrant for Kanter. The 26-year-old missed a London game this season when he was with the New York Knicks and a game in Toronto when he was with the Trail Blazers.