Enes Kanter, the Boston Celtics center from Turkey, will change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom when he takes US citizenship on Monday, The Athletic sports website reported.
Kanter, 29, has long been a vocal critic of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dubbing him the "Hitler of our century" in 2017.
But he hasn't reserved his criticism for Turkey, condemning the human rights record of China and calling out NBA superstar LeBron James for failing to advocate for Covid-19 vaccines and for his ties to Nike for what he believes is the company's failure to act regarding the treatment of minorities in China.
"Don't forget, every time you put those shoes on your feet, or you put that T-shirt on your back, there are so many tears and so much oppression and so much blood behind it all," Kanter said in a CNN interview charging that "millions" of people from the Uyghur ethnic group are forced to work in factories in "modern day slavery."
Kanter has denounced Chinese President Xi Jinping as a "brutal dictator" and condemned his country's policies in Tibet.
Kanter was drafted third overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2011 NBA draft. He is in his second stint with the Celtics in an NBA career that has also seen him play for the Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers.