I will admit that I haven’t truly paid attention to the NBA since Michael Jordan’s second retirement, but the 2009 playoffs have been rather intriguing. There have been a lot of close games, many in overtime and it seems the rise of such superstars as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony has been helpful. More than that, the battles and drama between those stars helps in keeping the attention of the easily bored sports fan.
One player that has caught my attention in this season’s playoff match-ups is one of the best shooters in the game, Hedo Turkoglu. As you can tell by the name and the fact that I’ m writing about him, he is indeed Turkish. You can view his statistics here.
The 6′ 10″ Turkoglu is in his ninth NBA season and has had his most success with the Orlando Magic, who look to put away the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals tonight.
If you saw any of the highlights from this series. You undoubtedly saw Lebron James amazing 3-point shot to win game 2. Most unfortunately for Turkoglu, he may be remembered more for having that shot be nailed in his face than anything else, which is quite sad considering Turkoglu was the one who hit the shot to put Orlando up by two points with one second left. But if the Magic go on to win the series, which it looks like they will, the shot by James will soon enough be forgotten and Turkoglu can perhaps hit another clutch shot without leaving one second on the clock.
At age 17, Turkoglu started playing for Efes Pilsen, a Turkish basketball club based out of Istanbul. He didn’t come to the NBA until 2000 when drafted 16th overall by the Sacramento Kings. His two most common nicknames include “Mr. Fourth Quarter” and “The Michael Jordan of Turkey.” He’s quite the versatile player and I wish him success in the upcoming playoff games.
I hope that he’ll provide as a solid conversation piece for me as I seek to build relationships. And since I know so little about soccer (which I will get used to calling football) hopefully the Turks are excited about their hometown NBA star.