Enes Kanter Freedom hosts basketball clinics in different countries (Courtesy photo)

Youth from different religious backgrounds took part in drills and learned from former NBA veteran Enes Kanter Freedom and Division III National Player of the Year Ryan Turell at a Multifaith Basketball Clinic at Sinai Temple.

The Muslim Coalition for America (MCA) and Sinai Temple collaborated to create the clinic in order to unify youth.

“What we decided was that sports is a superpower,” said MCA founder Omar Qudrat. “It can break down barriers and bring people together unlike anything else.”

The youth participated in three-on-three and five-on-five scrimmages. Freedom ensured that the teams had members of different faiths.

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“I wanted to show the kids and the parents that they can work together,” Freedom said. “We had so many different drills where they had to share the ball, where they had to pass the ball to each other, where they had to communicate.”

Freedom made the drills fun while making the participants bring out their best. Qudrat noted how every kid at the clinic got a chance to engage with him.

“He’s a natural, he’s got a knack with making kids light up and smile and laugh and have an amazing time,” Qudrat said. “He’s a tough coach at the same time too.”

Turell also contributed to the drills with the youth; he led all levels of men’s college basketball with 27.1 points per game during the 2021-2022 season at Yeshiva University. On Saturday, he became the first Orthodox Jewish player to be drafted into the NBA G League.

Freedom and Ryan Turell guided youth through drills and competition during the clinic (Courtesy photo)

“I wanted to be able to set the pathway for the Jewish kids and any kid watching that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can succeed and just stay true to who you are,” Turell said.

Following the clinic was a panel discussion where Freedom and Turell talk about their lives on and off the court. Sinai Temple Rabbi Erez Sherman was the moderator of the panel.

Turell talked about expressing his religion freely and his decision to attend Yeshiva University over a division I program.

Freedom spoke on how he became a basketball player and his advocacy for human rights. As the youth asked him questions, Freedom asked questions to the youth.

“I told them that there could be conflicts, there could be wars … but you guys are gonna be the ones that change the future,” Freedom said. “If you want a better and brighter future, we have to educate our kids.”

Qudrat enjoyed seeing youth of different racial groups, socioeconomic backgrounds, and religions play basketball together. He wants to see more multifaith basketball clinics.

“One of my biggest takeaways from this day was that it felt so easy, it just felt so natural,” Qudrat said. “It gave me a sense of hope that this is going to be so easy to replicate and scale at a national level.”