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Mehmet Okur quietly retires from basketball

By Zach Harper | NBA writer
One-time All-Star Mehmet Okur is retiring. (Getty Images)

There was a time when Mehmet Okur was a real integral component of a Jerry Sloan-coached Utah Jazz team. Now, he's retiring at the age of 33.

From 2005 through 2009, Okur averaged 16.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 34 minutes per game on a Jazz team that went 194-134 over four seasons. They also went 16-18 in three playoff appearances during that four-year stretch of his peak years.

Mehmet Okur had a 10-year career in which he averaged 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He shot 45.8 percent for his career and made 596 3-pointers. Okur was one of the better stretch-4/perimeter centers we've seen over the last decade. He started his career as a key reserve for the Detroit Pistons and even won a title with them in 2004.

After the Pistons' championship year, Okur signed a big deal with the Jazz and complemented the once bruising play of Carlos Boozer inside with his great shooting stroke from the outside. It helped make the Jazz a confusing team to defend, especially after Deron Williams joined the franchise.

Through Boozer's passing and scoring from the midpost, Andrei Kirilenko's incredible playmaking, Williams' meteoric rise at the point guard position, and Okur's ability to keep the defense honest and opposing big men uncomfortable on the perimeter, those Jazz teams were incredible to watch and frustrating for opposing teams. Okur's contributions were a big part of that.

Unfortunately for Mehmet, his body has failed him and at the age of 33, he's calling it quits.

Okur said he is leaving due to injuries.

"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 told reporters Wednesday.

In 2011, Okur ruptured his Achilles tendon during the first playoff game against the Denver Nuggets. For a man of Okur's size, it was just too much for his body to recover from and return to an acceptable level of play. He even missed playing for Turkey during the 2011 World Basketball Championship that was hosted by Turkey.

Okur was an All-Star in 2007 and a very solid player for most of his career. It's disappointing he didn't get to go out on a better note.

 
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