Overcoming the language barrier is one of the hardest things for an overseas athlete who comes to the United States. Adjusting to a new team in a new league is hard enough if you speak the language and an extra challenge if you’re forced to learn a second language at the same time.
That’s the situation Knicks center Enes Kanter found himself in during his one year at Kentucky (where he was ruled ineligible to play by the NCAA). Naturally, he turned on the television to sharpen his language skills and found two shows helped him the most.
“[Spongebob Squarepants] is my favorite,” Kanter said in an interview with D.J. Sixsmith of CBS Local. “That cartoon was actually where I got my English most. In college, I couldn’t play, I was just sitting down and watching two shows: Spongebob and Jersey Shore. Because you have to learn the street language, not the normal language.”
Kanter isn’t alone in learning English from TV. There are countless baseball players who credit their language skills to watching reruns of Friends. Maybe Kanter was in class when that was on.