The first Turkish player ever to play in the NBA, Hidayet “Hedo” Turkoglu has announced his retirement from the league.
Turkoglu, who spent 15 seasons in the NBA, said he was very thankful and grateful for the opportunity to live out his dream.
““I will always remember my teammates, coaches, staff members and all of the fans who made my career so wonderful for myself and my family,” said Turkoglu.
Turkoglu was a core member for Sacramento Kings after being taken in the first round of the 2000 NBA Draft. While he was the first player from his country in the NBA, he had some European company on the roster with Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac alongside him on the Kings.
Turkoglu was remembered by his former Kings’ teammate Doug Christie.
“Hedo’s one of my favorites, actually, because he was just so much fun,” said Christie.
Christie further recalled a story about Turkoglu, when he just arrived in the U.S. and purchased his first car, according to NBA.com.
Former Kings forward Chris Webber took Turkoglu’s truck to get a new stereo system, refinished the interior, and added some new rims. Christie said Turkoglu loved the modifications and remembered him pulling up next to Christie at a stoplight near the arena.
“He was playing some loud music and just rocking his head,” Christie recalled. “He was always fun, always kept lively and just a really good competitor.”
Turkoglu spent his NBA career playing for Sacramento, San Antonio, Orlando, Toronto, Phoenix and the L.A. Clippers. He averaged career-high 19.5 ppg for Orlando Magic in 2007-08.
Overall Turkoglu appeared in 997 NBA games (571 started), averaging 11.1 ppg, 4 rpg and 2.8 apg in 26.8 mpg.
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