Why is basketball so big in Turkey? Thank "The White Shadow"

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white-shadow.jpgThe White Shadow is a cult classic here in America, a touchstone for men (then boys) alive in the late 1970s. The television show about a white former NBA player whose career was cut short by a knee injury so he coached at a predominantly African-American high school was the Friday Night Lights of its day. Groundbreaking in some ways, glamorizing a sport in others.

Not just here, but in Turkey, according to Pete Thamel of the New York Times.

Turkey’s rapid rise as a basketball power can be traced, in part, to “The White Shadow,” whose 54 episodes appeared on black-and-white TV here from 1980 to 1982.

“It made people aware of basketball in Turkey,” said Alper Yilmaz, a former national team player who works in the front office of Efes Pilsen, a club in Istanbul that has won 13 Turkish League titles since its founding in 1976.

“There was already basketball in Turkey,” Yilmaz added, “but after that show, everyone started playing.”

Another American cultural export takes hold thanks to television. You’re welcome, world.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.