Gary Sinise and a Former NBA Star Are Big Winners at Fox News’ ‘Patriot Awards’ Show

Actor Gary Sinise and basketball star Enes Kanter Freedom came away from the fourth annual “Fox Nation Patriot Awards” Thursday night with two of the highest honors offered at the event.

Sinise received the Service to Veterans award.

“There are millions of veterans across our great nation who go unnoticed on a daily basis, but whose service has been invaluable in protecting our freedom,” Ingraham said in introducing Sinise. “They have a true champion — one man that I’ve had a chance to get to know so well over the years — and he’s our next award recipient.

“His dedication to supporting our heroes through thick and thin, all their challenges, is unrivaled,” she added. “And it’s inspiring.”

She then showed a tribute video that included statements from Sinise, workers with his foundation, disabled veterans, members of gold star families, and others about the significance of Sinise’s work over the years.

Sinise, who could not be at the event in person, submitted a video expressing his gratitude.

“I’m honored to receive this award,” he said, “for doing something that has been such a privilege and a blessing in this life’s journey. Over these many years I’ve met and been inspired by incredible men and women who bravely and selflessly serve in defense of freedom and who do the dangerous work to keep our towns and cities safe and secure.”

“Simply letting them know they are appreciated has given great purpose to my life,” he said.

You can see the video tribute and Sinise’s entire statement here.

Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade awarded Fox’s Most Valuable Patriot award to Freedom.

“This year’s recipient is so passionate about freedom for Team America and around that world that he sacrificed — so far — his NBA career,” Kilmeade said.

At that point the audience clearly knew Kilmeade was describing Freedom, as the cheering and applause evidenced.

“He believes in this country and freedom so much, he officially changed his name,” Doocy added.

They then showed a video tribute of Freedom, a Muslim born in Turkey who has played in the NBA and other professional basketball organizations throughout the world.

Freedom spoke in the video about his work to expose the hypocrisy of companies like Nike, who support organizations like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ activism and efforts to stop anti-Asian hate crimes, but remain silent about human rights violations in China, where it makes billions of dollars.

“Human is human,” he said, wearing a shirt that said “silence is violence.” “It doesn’t matter which color or which country or which culture.”

Freedom credited his parents with teaching him to respect others.

“I gave a promise [to] my mom, dad … That I’m not going to hate anyone before I meet them,” he said.

You can see Freedom’s segment here.

Freedom has lost more than his basketball career over his fight for others.

“I talked about the problems that were happening in Turkey; last time I saw my family was nine years ago,” Freedom said. “I talk about the problems were [sic] happening in China, pretty much lost my career … so the one thing that I always do that I used to pray every night and say, ‘God, please, just let me see, let me see my family one more time.’”

“This is your family now,” Kilmeade said, and Freedom agreed.

“You guys are my family,” he said. “Thank you so much.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.