The True Story Behind Free Enes


I tried my best to make this a reality. Alas, it was never meant to be…

Greetings WBN. I hope everyone reading this is having a wonderful morning. Let me introduce myself. My name is James Streble, I’m a teacher, I’m 29, and I am the new writer for the Wildcat Blue Nation blog. I am a lifetime Kentucky fan from Louisville. Those of you from Louisville that cheer for the Cats know how fun but also how frustrating this can be. I think that this unique set of circumstances have allowed me to hone my debate skills and my biting sarcasm, two tools in which I use in my blog style quite often.

I have been blogging about sports and Wildcat sports in particular for a little over a year now. My friend and I started a little blog entitled Sportsthat in order to blog about our beloved Wildcats and to debate Cardinal fans whenever the opportunity presented itself. I had a few noteworthy successes due to this blog, more notably the “Free Enes” campaign.

Now that the basic intro is out of the way, lets get down to business. I and my friend Lance Davis started “Free Enes”. I know exactly what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Hey, KSR started it,” or, “100 different guys said they started it”. I’ve heard all that before. Here is the story:

On August 25, 2010 at 7:22 a.m. (why does this sound like a courtroom deposition?) I wrote a blog post entitled “Free Enes Kanter” after I found out that the NCAA ruled Kanter ineligible and that Turkey was withholding his records. The article itself was quite funny and it contained a threatening letter to the Prime Minister of Turkey. I wonder why he never replied? Anyway, soon after I wrote the “Free Enes” article, my friend Lance Tweeted the story and #Free Enes. DeMarcus Cousins picked it up, tweeted it and it became a sensation.

Kentucky Sports Radio also picked up on it started printing and selling t-shirts that said “Free Enes” and pretty much took credit for the phrase. I was a little upset about this, but I became more upset when friends and relatives started asking me if I was making any money off of it. To me, money was not an issue. I didn’t care if I made a dime off of it, I was just ticked that Matt Jones and KSR were taking credit for something they didn’t create. I emailed Matt Jones and, shockingly, didn’t get a reply.

My moment of vindication came when I received a message on Twitter from John Clay of the Lexington Herald Leader. The message stated that he wanted to talk to me and he left me his phone number. I was nervous at first because I had written some pretty insulting things in my blog posts. Nevertheless, I called him. He told me that he had been researching “Free Enes” and found the origin of it to be my blog story and my friend’s Tweet. Clay did this independently and stated that he could find no earlier mentioning of the phrase before my post. Clay asked if he could interview me for a story in his newspaper, so I agreed.

The article itself was pretty funny and included a picture of me in my UK garb eating a sugar cookie and barbecue pork chop sandwich while tailgating at the UK/UL football game last year. Don’t knock it til you try it. I told John how I came up with the idea and that I had no ill feelings toward KSR, but he didn’t print that part. I felt good about everything and a little accomplished.

The big thrill came when Lance emailed me to tell me that had picked up the article and I was now featured on their college basketball page. Eamonn Brennan did the write up and compared the whole thing to the movie “The Social Network” by stating that my “creative genius” was taken advantage of by the more “opportunistic masses” in order to make their “quick bucks”. So, I am a genius and Matt Jones represents the opportunistic mass. Brennan’s words, not mine.

So there you have it. That’s the story and I hope you enjoyed it. I am not bitter at all about what happened. I am proud of the fact that I contributed to a part of the University of Kentucky lore and that I eventually got my dues for it. I still read KSR everyday and was actually one of the finalists in the first round of cuts in the KSTV casting call, so I’m cool with those guys. The saddest part is that poor Enes was not free in the end.

I want to thank Paul Jordan for giving me the opportunity to write for his blog. I am looking forward to helping take it to the next level and for writing about my passion: University of Kentucky basketball and football.

Until next time, Go Cats. Follow me @Catsfanboogie on Twitter, if you want to. You don’t have to but it would be nice.

Keep following www. for the best in Kentucky basketball and football news, rumors, and opinions. By Kentucky fans for Kentucky fans