Kings Reflect on Hedo Turkoglu’s Retirement

Former Kings forward Hedo Turkoglu made history in 2000 by becoming the first Turkish-born player to play in the NBA and after a 15-year career, he’s hanging up his kicks for good.

On Friday, Turkoglu announced his retirement from professional basketball, ending a successful tenure that included a Most Improved Player award in 2008 and a selection to the All-Rookie Second Team in 2001.

Affectionately known as “Brother Hedo” in his tenure with the Kings, Turkoglu was a core member for Sacramento after being taken in the first round of the 2000 NBA Draft. While Hedo was the first player from his country in the NBA, he had some European company on the roster with Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac alongside him on the Kings.

Doug Christie, another former teammate during Hedo’s Sacramento days, weighed in on the end of his friend’s basketball career.

“Hedo’s one of my favorites, actually, because he was just so much fun,” said Christie. “

The former Kings guard also recalled a story with Hedo of when he first got to the United States and purchased his first vehicle. Former Kings forward Chris Webber took Turkoglu’s truck to get a new stereo system, refinished the interior, and added some new rims as the icing on the cake. Christie said that Hedo loved the modifications and remembered Turkoglu pulling up next to him at a stoplight near the arena.

“He was playing some loud music and just rocking his head,” Christie said with a big smile. “He was always fun, always kept lively and just a really good competitor.”

Kings TV Analyst Jerry Reynolds remembers first seeing Turkoglu when he came in to work out for the Kings prior to the Draft.

“I didn’t know a lot about him, but I watched him and I was amazed by his size and the skill he had” said Reynolds. “Fortunately enough we were able to draft him at No. 16 [overall].”

“He was one of those guys that was just a heck of an overall player,” Reynolds continued. “Hedo could play several positions and of course he went on to have a great career.”

Turkoglu spent four seasons with the Kings from 2000-2003 and would go on to play for several other teams, having stints with the Spurs, Magic, Raptors, Suns, and Clippers. His final NBA appearance came in a Clippers loss to Houston during the Western Conference Semi-Finals this past season.

Besides his contributions on the court, Hedo also undoubtedly influenced many Kings fans back in the day with his famous frosted tips hairdo.

With the final chapter closed in Turkoglu’s NBA career, we salute “Brother Hedo” and thank him for the memories he helped make while he donned the purple and black.

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