Mehmet Okur Still Feels At Home In Utah

Feb 22, 2024, 2:30 PM

Mehmet Okur (facing) hugs Kirk Snyder(Jazz) after sinking a buzzer beater...

Mehmet Okur (facing) hugs Kirk Snyder(Jazz) after sinking a buzzer beater (Credit: Michael Brandy, Deseret News)

(Credit: Michael Brandy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Though he hasn’t suited up for the Utah Jazz since January 28, 2011, Mehmet Okur still feels at home in the state where he spent seven years of his decade-long NBA career.

Okur joined the KSL Sports Zone to discuss his tenure in Utah, and previewed his return to Salt Lake City as the Jazz celebrate their rosters of the 2000s on Thursday night.

You can listen to the full interview in the player below.

Mehmet Okur Feels At Home With Jazz, In Utah

The Turkish center signed with the Jazz as a free agent in the summer of 2004 fresh off a championship run with the Detroit Pistons.

Though he’s been gone from the state almost twice as long as he lived in Utah, Okur said his feelings towards the state haven’t changed.

“As soon as I stepped in the airport — when I’m here, even starting from the baggage claim to the hotel, to the arena, to the street trying to get a coffee, I feel that love from the people.”

Okur made 506 appearances with the Jazz between the regular season and the playoffs and quickly developed into one of the all-time fan favorites in Salt Lake City.

The soft-spoken big man earned the nickname “Money Man” from play-by-play announcer Craig Bolerjack thanks to his clutch play throughout his tenure with the Jazz.

“When I walk around with my kids and family and I get still that love from fans, they’re like, ‘Oh dad, you must have done something good here,'” Okur said. “I guess I did okay.”

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Over seven seasons in Utah, Okur averaged 15.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three.

“That love really, really makes me feel great,” Okur admitted. “It’s always great to be back in town.”

Jazz To Honor Okur, Boozer, Williams, Kirilenko

Joining Okur will be Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, and Andrei Kirilenko against the Charlotte Hornets as the Jazz celebrate their rosters of the 2000s.

The quarter earned six All-Star nods, three All-NBA appearances, made three All-Defensive Teams, and were key factors in the Jazz’s last run to the Conference Finals in 2007.

Okur ranks among the Jazz’s top ten all-time in three-pointers made (eighth), free-throws (ninth), defensive rebounds (ninth), rebounds per game (tenth), and win shares (tenth).

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Mehmet Okur Still Feels At Home In Utah