Five years removed from an All-Star season and a year after he left Utah, former Jazz center Mehmet Okur retired from the NBA on Thursday.
According to multiple reports, the Turkish big man who played seven seasons with the Jazz and won an NBA title with Detroit decided to retire after a continued onslaught of injuries that limited him to 20 games in the last two seasons.
“Really, really, really enjoyed the person,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said, “working with him on and off the floor. He listens, he understood who he was and the things he needed to improve to have a chance to help us win games here, and he did those things every year.”
Okur had career averages of 13.5 points and seveb rebounds per game in 10 seasons, and averaged 17 or more points three different seasons with the Jazz.
In seven seasons with the Jazz, Okur was known for his oft-deadly 3-point touch, but in later years also for being prone to back injuries that eventually derailed his career.
Of the people affiliated with the Jazz, perhaps none was more affected by Okur’s departure from the NBA than second-year center Enes Kanter, who, like Okur, is from Turkey and grew up idolizing the sharp-shooting center.
“He was a great player, and Turkey loved him,” Kanter said. “He did so much for the Utah Jazz, for Turkey. When I was growing up I watched him a lot. I was a Utah Jazz fan, just because of him.
The Jazz traded Okur to New Jersey last December for a 2015 second-round pick. He played 17 games for the Nets, but was dealt at the trade deadline to Portland, which waived him before he played a game.
Mehmet Okur file
2002-04 • Detroit Pistons
2004-11 • Utah Jazz 2011-12 • New Jersey Nets
With the Jazz
G Pts Reb 3pt%
474 15.3 7.6 38.1