On 8th and 9th of July, I made two surveys: One was about saying ”yes” or ”no” to basketball and 31 people said ”yes” while nobody said the opposite. It wasn’t a big survey with many participants, but even this one shows that basketball has a big place in our hearts. Some of us wake up with it and go to bed dreaming it. We don’t have to play for big clubs, it’s always with us. Basketball gives us a goal, purpose, discipline, courage, passion and more.
The other survey was about the idol players in our lives. Guess what? NBA players still have a huge impact on us. Surprised? I don’t think so. NBA is one of the most effective marketing areas in the world. Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Dwayne Wade, Tim Duncan and more were on NBA list.
Number of people who idolize European players is close to the other side, but NBA is still one step ahead. Drazen Petrovic, Harun Erdenay, Dogus Balbay, Damir Mrsic, Adem Oren, Kerem Tunceri, Efe Aydan, Erman Kunter, Hidayet Turkoglu and Ibrahim Kutluay were the names on the list as European players.
I was a big fan of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Steve Nash and more during my life as a player. I admired the team Boston Celtics. I’d already felt that my basketball vision was closer to Larry Bird, even though I watched Magic Johnson live in my mom’s belly. Sorry Magic, love you anyway 🙂
I was attracted by the team soul of Boston Celtics in 2000s ( Doc Rivers was the coach then ). In the meantime, I found Lakers ( big rival of Boston ) repellent because all I see was personal play. I respect to players like Kobe Bryant but that’s my idea anyway. I enjoyed sharing the ball and the joy, not jazzing up the statistics or only myself.
That whole idea has made me closer to European style. I remember when I watched Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac in a documentary called ”Once Brothers”. I’m sure that I never had a friendship like that during my play time. I was also attracted by Petrovic’s work ethic, passion and discipline. I watched it maybe 7-8 times. In South Korea, I watched it, cried a lot, went to the basketball court of university and played at night. Even it was rainy, it couldn’t stop me.
In the games, I saw strong defence, rebounds, box-outs, assists, smart offensive plays… What I saw was integrative basketball ( You can see it in earlier NBA times ). Sarunas Jasikevicius, Dimitris Diamantidis, Omer Onan, Mirsad Turkcan and more players shaped the basketball inside my head. I went to watch most of the games of Efes, young generation or A team. Then Fenerbahce, other teams… And my perspective has expanded.
But I’ve never turned back to watch NBA games. I know, it comes to people absurd because NBA comes to people so attractive. Power and big show. Good combination for supporters and the players. After those Boston Celtics times, not for me. I see the effects of NBA even on European basketball and young generation. Especially, young players make a hash of fundamental. They forget all about the basic functions and techniques, try to be one of them.
Basketball have been faster, harsh, wants more physical energy but I still look for that integrative basketball. The decrease at level of defense, increase of personal plays, statistics obsession are not what I want to see in real basketball, not for now or not for the future. When the basketball gets balanced again with all parts, the show will be much bigger than now.