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Enes Kanter On Feud With President Of Turkey, Role In Celtics Locker Room

BOSTON (CBS) - New Celtics center Enes Kanter made news after posting video saying he was harassed at a Cambridge mosque. He believes it is retaliation in a simmering political dispute.

WBZ's David Wade sat down with Kanter Monday and discovered from politics, to charity, to food, he might be the most interesting athlete in Boston.

Enes Kanter is a mountain of man, often found navigating a mountain of food. Precisely what he was doing when Wade met up with him at Cafe De Boston. From kabobs and gyros, Wade and Kanter then dove into the verbal beef he had with two men outside of a Cambridge mosque a few days ago.

Kanter, a native of Turkey, says the men were threatening him because of his ongoing feud with Turkey's president.

"I just started recording and they were just telling me how I'm a traitor, I shouldn't pray here, I should get out of here, I shouldn't be in a mosque," Kanter said.

Kanter has publicly compared the Turkish president, Erdogan, to Hitler. President Erdogan has called Kanter a terrorist with ties to a group who tried a coup attempt. Kanter worries the video is proof that feud has come to Boston.

"They were harassing me and verbally attacking me in America," Kanter said. "First time ever."

Enes Kanter
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter (WBZ-TV)

"I don't think they can do any operations in America, but I mean I'm getting death threats almost every day," Kanter said.

Despite those threats, Kanter wants to bring joy to the Celtics locker room. Last year's team collapsed under an avalanche of attitude. Kanter tweeted about this year's team: "This is going to be fun."

"You can be the best team on paper, best talented team, but if the chemistry is not there, you are not going to be successful," Kanter said. "My thing is be a good locker room guy, be that glue guy, be the guy that when the team is going wrong, when somebody is down, just lift them up."

He spent the summer lifting the spirits of kids. Hosting 50 free hoops clinics in 30 states. He hopes to be a U.S. citizen in the next couple of years and says this is all part of giving back.

"America give me home," Kanter said. "American give me home, they always open their arms. And so that's why we decided to do that and it turned out to be amazing."

When he's not talking politics or playing basketball, he's usually eating and posting videos of his so-called cheat days.

When he played in New York he missed games after videotaping himself eating seven cheeseburgers, though he claims it was a cold, not the burgers.

"The next three games I couldn't play because I was cold and everybody was saying 'Enes Kanter out: Burgers,'" he said.

While he likes to have fun, Kanter constantly worries about his family in Turkey. He can't talk to them. In fact, three years ago, they announced they had "disowned" him. Kanter believes they had to do that in order to survive under President Erdogan.

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