Mehmet Okur, the first talented big man to make the move from Turkey to the NBA, has announced his retirement at age 33.
Okur was never the same player after he ruptured his Achilles tendon in April, 2010. Though he returned to the court with the Utah Jazz the following year and played 13 games, and spent part of last season with the New Jersey Nets after the NBA lockout, Okur was not the force he once was.
“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. “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.”
Okur had many more highs than lows during his career, with his crowning achievement the NBA title he captured with Detroit. He parlayed that title-winning campaign into a big-money move to Utah and had a solid career with the Jazz, making the Western Conference All-Star Team in 2007.
Okur was in good form in the 2009-10 season, averaging 13.5 points and 7.1 rebounds and was deemed a lock to make the Turkish national team that summer but he went down with the Achilles injury. His nation finished second to the United States in the World Championship.