Mehmet Murat Okur (born 26 May 1979) is a Turkish retired professional basketball player. Listed at 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m), he played as a power forward and center. He was known for his three-point shooting and ability to space the floor. In his 7 seasons with the Utah Jazz, Mehmet Okur emerged as one of the premier shooting players in the NBA. From 2004-10 Okur displayed a talent for making big shots in pressure situations - earning him the nickname of "The Money Man" and "Memo is Money" amongst Jazz fans. On 13 September 2016, Okur was named a player development coach for the Phoenix Suns, becoming the first Turkish citizen to enter the coaching world in the NBA.
|Born||26 May 1979|
|Listed height||6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)|
|Listed weight||249 lb (113 kg)|
|NBA draft||2001 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37th overall|
|Selected by the Detroit Pistons|
|Position||Center / Power forward|
|2011–2012||New Jersey Nets|
|2016–2017||Phoenix Suns (player development)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||8,561 (13.5 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,436 (7.0 rpg)|
|Assists||1,089 (1.7 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
He is of Turkish, Albanian, Circassian descents. Okur notes Toni Kukoč was his favorite player while he was growing up. He helped the Turkish 22-and-under national team to 6th place at the 1997 world championship. He was transferred to Efes Pilsen (now known as Anadolu Efes) in 2000 and won a championship in the 2001–2002 Turkish Basketball League season. He averaged 13.5 points per game during his last season in Turkey.
Okur was selected 38th overall in the second round of the 2001 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He played two seasons for the Pistons from 2002–03 to 2003–04, helping Detroit win the NBA championship in June 2004. He became the first Turkish player to win an NBA championship. Due to salary cap limitations, the Pistons were unable to pay a top-level salary for Okur, but he was able to parlay his success into a six-year, US$50 million contract with the Utah Jazz.
Standing 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) and 290 lbs (132 kg), Okur played the center and power forward positions for the Utah Jazz. In his first season (2004–2005) with Utah, he played in all 82 games, starting in 25 of them. Nicknamed "Memo", Okur made his presence felt during his second (2005–2006) season with Utah, increasing his scoring average from 12.9 points per game the previous season to 18.0 points per game. He started in all 82 games for the second straight season, the only Utah Jazz player to do so. In his third season, he continued to be a key player for Utah.
He was named to the Western Conference All-Star team for the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. He and Ray Allen were selected as replacements for injured original members Allen Iverson and Steve Nash. He was the first Turkish player to participate in this event.
On Monday, 12 January 2009, Okur established a new career high in points scored when he scored 43 points against the Indiana Pacers.
On 10 July 2009 Okur signed a two-year contract extension reportedly worth approximately $21 million.
On 17 April 2010, Okur ruptured his Achilles' tendon during the first game of the post-season against the Denver Nuggets, eliminating him from the remainder of the NBA playoffs, as well as the World Basketball Championships in his native Turkey later that summer.
He returned on 17 December 2010 and scored 2 points against the New Orleans Hornets.
Türk Telekom AnkaraEdit
New Jersey NetsEdit
On 22 December 2011, Okur was traded to the New Jersey Nets for a 2015 second round pick. This reunited him with former Jazz teammate, PG Deron Williams, who was traded to the Nets the previous season.
Portland Trail BlazersEdit
On 15 March 2012, Okur was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers along with Shawne Williams and a 2012 1st round draft pick in exchange for Gerald Wallace. He was waived by Portland on 21 March 2012.
Later in 2012, Okur decided to retire from basketball, citing injuries.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes season in which Okur won an NBA championship|
Before working as a coach, Okur was an ambassador for the Utah Jazz from 2014 to August 2016. On 13 September 2016, Okur agreed to a deal that made him one of the newest player development coaches for the Phoenix Suns. Okur would soon become the first Turkish-born coach to ever be a part of an NBA coaching staff in some capacity. With the earlier hiring of Canadian Jay Triano, it would also mark the first time that two foreign-born coaches would take part in participating in the Suns' coaching staff at the same time. He would also be reunited with his former teammate Earl Watson and former coach Tyrone Corbin, although their roles would be different with Watson being the head coach and Corbin being an assistant coach.
After seeing slight improvements in his first season as a player development coach, Okur would be fired alongside assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren and fellow player development coach Jason Fraser on 22 October 2017. The sudden firing would come after the Suns had some very poor performances to start out their 50th anniversary season, leading to a 0–3 start to their season.
He is married to actress and former Miss Turkey finalist Yeliz Çalışkan. They have a daughter, Melisa, born on 21 March 2007, and two sons, Yiğit Mehmet, born on 19 February 2010, and Mert Mehmet Okur, born on 19 November 2014.
- NBA Player Profile
- NBA.com: Mehmet Okur Biography Archived 18 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 18 February 2007
- World Championship fo.net/pd.asp?p=243 TBLstat.net: Mehmet Okur Retrieved 18 February 2007
- Turkish Basketball League history Retrieved 18 February 2007
- TBLstat.net: Mehmet Okur Retrieved 18 February 2007
- Draft Profile: Mehmet Okur Retrieved 18 February 2007
- NBA.com: Mehmet Okur Archived 19 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 18 February 2007
- Okur named 2007 All Star
- Allen, Okur get call to replace injured All-Star players, Retrieved 13 February 2007
- "Jazz Signs Mehmet Okur to Multi-Year Extension". NBA.com. 10 July 2009. Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
- Utah Jazz: Mehmet Okur signs with Turkish team
- "NETS Acquire Mehmet Okur". NBA.com. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
- "Trail Blazers Acquire Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams, And 2012 First Round Draft Pick From New Jersey". NBA.com. 15 March 2012. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
- "Trail Blazers Claim JJ Hickson Off Waivers". NBA.com. 21 March 2012. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Mehmet Okur announces his retirement from basketball
- NBA.com: Mehmet Okur Archived 19 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 19 May 2009
- "Suns Add Mehmet Okur, Jason Hervey to Basketball Staff". NBA.com. 13 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.