“Keep calm and play ball.” That’s what some people tell me when I use my National Basketball Association platform to speak out against Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, the place I grew up and where my family still lives. The advice I prefer comes from Colin Kaepernick’s Nike ad campaign: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
On Thursday, I won’t be able to go to work when my team, the New York Knicks, plays the Washington Wizards in London. It is altogether too risky. Erdogan uses Interpol, the international law enforcement organization with 194 member nations, as a tool to have his critics arrested in other countries. I do not yet have U.S. citizenship or a U.S. passport, which could offer me protection, so I can’t risk traveling overseas.
Even if I did, I wouldn’t travel this week to Britain, where I easily could be kidnapped or killed by Turkish agents. Erdogan’s arms are long. He hunts down anyone who opposes him. In 2017, his security team — or thugs, as The Post’s editorial board described them — even beat up peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington.