For the last couple of years, Enes Kanter has trolled LeBron James on social media, but things got heated between them during the 2017-18 NBA season.
Prior to the New York Knicks hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers, James expressed belief the former should have selected Dennis Smith Jr. instead of Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. During the game, James bumped Ntilikina and Kanter quickly came to his rookie’s defense.
With James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers and finished with dominating the Eastern Conference, Kanter revealed how his ‘big problem’ initially started.
While Kanter went in depth on their friction, he also conceded the attempts to throw James off his game failed, according to Royce Young of ESPN:
With LeBron, it was weird because when I was with the Thunder I remember watching games, highlights when the Cavs were blowing out the Knicks at MSG. And then they started playing the “bottle flip” game. I was like, “This is disrespectful, man … this is messed up.”
And then it was the first game I was with the Knicks and then he came and before the game he said we should’ve drafted Dennis Smith Jr. And not just me, but most of our guys felt like it was disrespectful to Frank [Ntilikina] and we actually sat down with Frank and talked to him and said, “Hey you gotta step up for yourself, man.”
Then I was in the game and they were pushing each other and I’m like, “This is a 19-year-old kid against a 260-pound dude. This is not fair.” So I get in there and we were face-to-face and we trash-talked a little bit. After the game I called him “queen” or “princess” or whatever.
But I would do anything to take his focus away, distract him. People ask me, “Does it work?” No it does not work. But I’m trying.
In addition to James, Kanter also has an interesting relationship with his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant. While Kanter has criticized Durant for signing with the Golden State Warriors, he recently recruited him to the Knicks in 2019 free agency.
Originally the No. 3 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, Kanter has established himself as a player teammates love, but opponents hate.