- Detroit Pistons 2002 - 2004
Mehmet Okur is a professional basketball player from Turkey and plays as a Center for his teams. While growing up, Toni Kukoc played a major role in motivating Okur as one his favourite players in the world of basketball. Okur began his professional career in 1997 with Oyak Renault. In his very first year in the professional league, he was picked for the Under-22 Turkish national team.
He was instrumental in leading the team to sixth place in the Under-22 World Championships. The very next year, he moved to Tofas S. K. and stayed at the club for three seasons. Okur was a stalwart at Tofas and in 2000, he was transferred to Efes Pilsen.
In his second year with the team, Okur won the 2001-02 Turkish Basketball League title while averaging at 13.5 points per game. In the 2001 NBA Draft, Okur decided to sign up and soon, was picked by the Detroit Pistons at 38th overall in the second round of the draft. He was part of the Detroit Pistons between 2003 and 2004 and in the latter year, he won the NBA Championship title with the Pistons. Unfortunately, at the end of the season, the Pistons decided to trade him out due to limitations brought about due to their salary cap.
So at the end of the 2004 season, Okur moved to the Utah Jazz with a 6-year, $50-million contract to make up for the cancelled contract with the Detroit Pistons. In his first season with Utah, Okur made appearances in all 82 games although he had just 25 starts. It took until his second year with the Jazz for him to make his presence felt. Okur raised his game and was shooting at 18.0 points per game, up from 12.9 in the previous season. He led the Jazz in scoring and rebounding to become the most improved player in the league. He became the only Jazz player that year to play all 82 games.
A strong player for the Jazz, Okur was picked for the 2007 NBA All-Star Game as a replacement for Steve Nash and Allen Iverson, along with Ray Allen. In the process, Okur became the first Turkish player to become a part of the All-Star game.