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Former Piston Mehmet Okur retires


Battles with injuries late in his career have forced Mehmet Okur to stop playing basketball.

Turkey‘s lone NBA champion, when he was a member of the Detroit Pistons in 2004, Okur has left the game at just 33 years of age.

"A player of certain level should say goodbye to the sport he loves when his body doesn’t let him to be as he used to be," Okur said in remarks carried by the Anadolu Agency.

Okur also said: "I want to thank my family, coaches, partners, and all those who have accompanied me in basketball.

"Also, a special thanks to the fans who have always supported me."

I liked Mehmet Okur from the moment the Pistons drafted him, simply because his name was cool. I remained a fan, as he grew in Detroit. Okur was a strong outside shooter and solid interior scorer, but he never got enough credit for his grit. Okur wasn’t afraid to play physically, even if that wasn’t a staple of his game.

I was bummed when Okur left the Pistons for a big-money contract with the Utah Jazz in 2004, though happy he cashed in. Practicing my GM skills, I spent hours that summer trying to find a way the Pistons could have afforded to keep Okur and Rasheed Wallace, who was also a free agent, but it just wasn’t going to work.

It’s a shame Okur came along when the Pistons’ big-men spots were filled with Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Corliss Williamson and, soon, Antonio McDyess. There was just no room for Okur then, but a couple years later, he would have been a very welcome addition.

Most of all, I’ll remember the Pistons’ triple-overtime loss to the New Jersey Nets in Game 5 of the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals. Even as all the Nets’ big men fouled out, Pistons coach Larry Brown stubbornly refused to play Okur and exploit the advantage. I was at that game, asking everyone around me one good reason Okur couldn’t enter the game and, unlike Williamson and Darvin Ham, make New Jersey pay for missing its center.

Okur wasn’t destined to make his big splash in Detroit, no matter how much I wanted it to happen.


  • Nov 9, 20129:14 am
    by Piston87


    Speaking of former pistons. Wages of Wins has 2 retired pistons in the Top 10 greatest of all time (since 1978 anyways).  We did also employ the worst player ever, Cliff Robinson.  I actually didn’t mind Cliff when he was with the Pistons but I knew a lot less then.

  • Nov 9, 201210:07 am
    by MIKEYDE248


    I was bummed when he left because I thought he would have been a great young guy to build around.  Him and Prince looked like two very bright players of the future.  Although he was never a very good defensive player, his offense made up for it.

  • Nov 9, 201210:25 am
    by Crispus


    I remember that Larry Brown hated him. We do have an unfortunate history of sitting talented guys for silly reasons. I hope this doesn’t continue.

  • Nov 9, 20127:28 pm
    by ryan


    He helped us win our only title of that last f’d up run and he was solid for years with the Jazz so I’ve got a lot of love and respect for Mehmet Okur. I always wanted to find a way to get him back after he’d gone to Utah but it never happened.

    It’s funny thinking back to that summer I was making the case to anyone that would listen that we need to let Rasheed Wallace go and keep Okur. I lived in Portland at the time and didn’t trust Rasheed at all.

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