Celtics' Enes Kanter raring to return to the hardcourt as NBA relaxes COVID-19 restrictions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) – Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter expressed his excitement to return to the hardcourt as the National Basketball Association eased their COVID-19-related restrictions recently.

In an interview with CNN Philippines’ Rico Hizon, the 6’11” Turkish center revealed they are currently waiting the final orders from the Massachusetts government in allowing the reopening of training facilities for sports teams.

“In two hours, the Massachusetts governor will tell everybody if our practice facility will open or not. We’ve been waiting for this to happen for the last two months and I think it’s finally going to happen,” said Kanter.

The NBA decided to suspend its season last March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league made its decision after postponing the game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Several players in the league tested positive of the virus, most notably Jazz’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, 2014 Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, and Kanter’s teammate Marcus Smart.

Kanter added that for the past two months, he has been trying to maintain his game shape by doing home workouts. But he emphasized his real game shape can be achieved if the players will be allowed to hold practice again in their team facility.

“All NBA players are working out in our house and we try to do best that we can to stay at game shape. I think we just need to go out there and have that three to four week-period to get back in real game shape,” he added.

The league already allowed the reopening of training facilities effective last May 8, in the condition that local authorities issue rules in permitting such resumption in sports and training activities.

Kanter also underscored the importance of having a game-ready body and mind, especially on teams like the Celtics who are contending for a playoff spot.

“In the playoffs, if you lose, you go home. You gonna give everything you have. We need to make sure we will be healthy and play safe,” Kanter said.

Kanter and the Celtics are currently at third place in the Eastern Conference, touting a 43-21 win-loss record.

Meanwhile, Kanter also shared his reflections on The Last Dance, the 10-part documentary chronicling the journey of NBA superstar Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls when they won six titles in the 90s.

“I feel like MJ is the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) now,” Kanter happily shared.

Kanter bared he was able to personally meet Jordan when he was 16 years old, but he more appreciated the former Bulls star’ dedication to the game after watching the documentary that inspired him to be a better basketball player in the court.

“It’s amazing to see how dedicated he was, how amazing that he go out there and win every game and how competitive he was. His love and passion of the game is amazing to see,” said Kanter.

Kanter averages 8.2 points and 7.7 rebounds in the 51 games he played for Boston this season.