The Wizards will play the Knicks on January 17 in London, the capital of the United Kingdom. The game is still nearly two weeks away, but it’s already made headlines.
Knicks center Enes Kanter announced on Friday after their 119-112 win over the Lakers that he will not go to the UK for the game against the Wizards due to personal safety fears. More specifically, Kanter fears that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may carry out an assassination attempt on him through spies:
Enes Kanter says he’s not going to London with Knicks because he fears for his life due to “that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president. There’s a chance that I can get killed out there.” pic.twitter.com/NvRDSHWB4V— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) January 5, 2019
In addition, Kanter’s Turkish passport was cancelled last year and according to him, he cannot travel safely outside the United States and Canada.
The Knicks themselves didn’t say that Kanter is skipping the game due to personal safety. But rather, it’s just the visa issues, which is consistent with what Kanter said.
Kanter is averaging 14.4 points and 10.7 rebounds for the Knicks this season.
The Wizards will certainly have an opportunity to show their talents in Europe very soon. It’s certainly an exciting opportunity. But it’s also unfortunate that visa issues and possibly his safety may be at risk.