Enes Kanter is feigning embarrassment—and tears.
The hulking 7-footer from Turkey falls to his knees and puts his hands on his head in dismay. The New York Knicks big man has been upset in the finals of a knockout tournament at his own basketball camp in the Big Apple over the summer.
The winner? A middle-schooler who’s suddenly the most popular kid in the gym.
“I was going to make the finals. And who’s ever in the finals, I was going to lose it on purpose,” Enes recalls to CloseUp360. “This kid was so happy. I got on my knees, I started crying, they were going nuts. It was awesome to see all the kids were cheering for their teammates, for their friends.
“And then some people were coming in and talking trash to me. They said, ‘Hey, you suck.’ I’m, like, ‘Easy man, easy.’” … We would talk so much trash to each other with the kids. It’s fun because they love it.”
Enes, of course, knows a thing or two about trolling; he’s one of the NBA’s most notorious in that regard. But for all the playful banter—well, mostly playful, anyway—that he’s dished out on the court and online, he took back plenty from kids throughout the offseason.
Where most NBA players might host a clinic or two during the summer, Enes organized what is likely a record for a pro in a three-month span: 16 camps. That’s right—16—in 16 different cities.
At every stop, Enes and his business manager, Hank Fetic, spent at least a second day doing a community service in town, such as working with foster care kids, putting on a food drive, stopping by an orphanage, visiting schools and local businesses, or meeting with local fans and NBA players. In some cities, they did three days of camps and three days of outreach.