Basketball sensation Enes Kanter Freedom arrived in Israel Thursday to co-host a multi-faith basketball camp in Jerusalem with Tamir Goodman.
“I believe that we can use sports to promote tolerance, respect, and coexistence,” Kanter Freedom said.
The camp will be focused on uniting Israeli youth from different backgrounds, including Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze. They will learn basic basketball skills, take part in strengthening and conditioning drills and discuss faith-driven values.
“By bringing children together on a basketball court, I know we can show them the importance of respecting people of all faiths while building camaraderie and developing relationships,” Kanter Freedom added. “I played in the NBA for 11 years as an observant Muslim, shoulder to shoulder with my Jewish and Christian brothers. We respected each other’s faith and I learned a lot from them and about them and their faith. I am looking forward to setting a positive example for the children of Jerusalem.”
Kanter Freedom has played on a variety of NBA teams, including the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Portland Trailblazers and Boston Celtics. He is currently a free agent.
Goodman, who was dubbed the “Jewish Jordan” by Sports Illustrated expressed similar sentiments. He said that, “basketball has successfully proven itself to unite players of all backgrounds. I’m excited this camp is giving us the opportunity to bring together kids, who otherwise wouldn’t have met, to play and form new friendships.”
The camp experiences will be filmed by the faith media brand “SoulShop” to use in an upcoming docuseries, according to SoulShop CEO Dan Luxenberg.
The camp is underwritten by Bnai Zion, Athletes for Israel and Together Vouch for Each Other U.S.
Maayan Hoffman is a veteran American-Israeli journalist and strategic communications consultant. She is Deputy CEO - Strategy & Innovation for the Jerusalem Post, where she also served as news editor, head of strategy and senior health analyst.